fresh cherries

Chokecherry Jelly

 

Chokecherry Jelly is a low-sugar or low-honey cooked jelly made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener.

Notes

You can taste the jelly after the pectin has dissolved and the fruit mixture has come back to a full boil. Once the pectin is dissolved, you are free to add extra sweetener above the range given in the recipe. Stir in the extra sweetener well and bring the mixture back to a good boil before turning off the heat and canning your jelly.
Servings 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chokecherry juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice bottled
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water see step #1
  • ½ cup up to 1 cup honey or ¾ cup up to 2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder mixed with sweetener

Instructions

  • Before you begin, prepare calcium water.
    To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.
    Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
  • Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small saucepan; cover and heat to a low boil. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to use.
  • Prepare chokecherry juice.
  • Measure juice into saucepan.
  • Add calcium water and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Measure sugar or room temperature honey into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sweetener. Set aside.
  • Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add pectin-sweetener mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
  • Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

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29 Responses

  1. Corinne
    | Reply

    Could I add some heat by adding hot peppers in with the berries while they are cooking? No need to change the amount of acid or safety? Thanks!

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Corinne,

      Great question! If you are wanting to add 1 cup of diced peppers (any type), you can certainly do that. You will need to replace 1 cup of the chokecherry juice with 1 cup vinegar or lemon/lime juice in order for the jelly to be safe for water-bath canning and shelf stability.

  2. Kim M
    | Reply

    Hi Linda,
    I also used a 3 part steamer to cook my chokecherries this year! The top vessel was full, sounds like we had about the same amount of chokecherries. According to the directions on my steam juicer, and from personal experience, I would NOT mash the berries in the top of the steamer. I did wind up steaming them for about 4 1/2 hours though, and was thrilled with the extra amount of juice that was released. I got 2 1/2 qts. of juice! I have diluted the juice with water before making jelly in the past, but not as far as 1/2 & 1/2.
    The recipe I have always used is well over 100 yrs. old (it was my great-grandfather’s!) and actually does not use any pectin other than the lemons and the natural pectin in some not-quite-so-ripe berries, and the foam which gets stirred back in. It’s quite an interesting method using a teaspoon of juice in a teaspoon of grain alcohol to observe the clotting and determine the amount of sugar needed per measure of juice. The boiling juice/jelly evaporates as it comes to an exact temperature on a candy thermometer and therefore yields are reduced dramatically. I am looking forward to trying it with Pomona’s Pectin sometime in the future….after my broken collar bone heals!
    P.S. My grandmother always used quartered lemons cooked in each batch and would can the jelly with a lemon piece on top of each jar. Heavenly to eat!

  3. Linda V
    | Reply

    Hi folks,
    I used a 3 part stainless steel steamer for 70min.
    Questions:
    1. Should I mash berries in top of steamer & steam longer, to get more juice?
    2. Should I dilute my juice with water before making jelly? I don’t know if my juice is too concentrated as is. How do I make that decision? I juiced 2 1/2 ice-cream buckets of choke cherries.

    Thanks, Linda

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Linda,

      We have never used a steamer, so unfortunately we are not able to advise on this one. Best of luck!

  4. CINDY ELLARD
    | Reply

    Can I use Nanking Cherry juice in place of Chokecherry?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Cindy,

      We have never used Nanking Cherry in this recipe, so we can’t say for sure, but after doing a bit of research it looks like it should be fine.

      Kindly,
      Shelby

  5. Sheri
    | Reply

    I didn’t have enough jars. Can I eat the leftover jelly.

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      You sure can! Enjoy 🙂

  6. makemineirish
    | Reply

    As a novice, I am hesitant to deviate from the written instructions and only utilize recipes from credible sources. I want to utilize Aronia berries and see from previous comments that I am not the first to find this recipe for this reason. However, I really hate to discard anything and typically stick with jams to use the whole fruit. Is there any reason that I could not follow your recipe using a like measure of mashed fruit (rather than juice) for a jam…or is that just asking for trouble? Is it advisable to find a recipe incorporating other fruits (plum, perhaps) to temper the Aronia berry’s astringency? I bought Allison Carroll Duffy’s book in the hopes that there was one in there, but am still stymied.

  7. Raynie
    | Reply

    I have used your pectin for years and love it but every time i try making chokecherry jelly it doesn’t set.. i used your recipe this time and still didn’t set.. any ideas why I’m having such a problem setting chokecherries?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Raynie,

      Thanks so much for reaching out! How long are you cooking the jam, and water bath processing? How much sugar are you using?

      Kindly,
      Shelby

  8. Stacy Dobbins
    | Reply

    I want to make a chokecherry jelly with a stevia / erythritol blend, how much should I use and do I add it with the pectin the same as the sugar?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Wonderful, yes you will still want to mix the pectin with the sweetener.

      Happy jamming!

  9. Heidi
    | Reply

    Now can you help those of us in Southern California find Chokecherries?
    🙂

  10. Donalda
    | Reply

    Is it necessary to use water bath canning when making jams/jellies? I have never done this and have had no issues.

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Donalda,
      For safety reasons, it is necessary to water-bath can your jams and jellies.

      Kindly,
      Shelby

  11. JoAnn Ayotte
    | Reply

    I don’t have chokecherries but I do have Nanking cherries. I noticed when I used this product last year, my jelly was very clouded rather than the clear version I am used to using regular pectin and tons of sugar. Did I do something wrong or are all jellies made with your product cloudy?

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Dear JoAnn,
      If your jelly jelled and tastes good, it is unlikely that you did anything wrong. It is true that color can change and jelly can become more opaque when low-sugar jelly cools. The sparkly clear jelly look comes from high-sugar jelly being more sugar than fruit juice and it is the sugar that creates the look. In some cases, you can obtain clearer low-sugar jelly by straining the juice a number of times.

      I hope this answers your question. Thanks for using Pomona’s — and happy jamming!

      • JoAnn Ayotte
        | Reply

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! That’s what I figured, it was the sugar that created the syrup where the end result was this nice clear jelly. As long as I know I didn’t do anything wrong because as you say my jelly did jell and it did taste good! If you ever get the opportunity to try Nanking Cherry jelly I would highly recommend it. The bush is indigenous to southern Alberta, Canada, and grows like weeds. The berries are about the size of a red grape with a very large pit. I’ve attached a picture.

        Thanks again for such a quick response!

        All the best

  12. nancy amick
    | Reply

    We are growing aronia berries, also known as chokeberries. Could I use aronia juice in place of chokecherry juice?
    Thanks
    Nancy
    PS the brix of these berries are between 15-18

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Hello Nancy,
      You should be able to use the aronia berry/chokeberry juice in place of the chokecherry juice in this recipe.

      We haven’t worked with aronia berry juice ourselves but, from reading a little on the internet, it sounds like you will want to add the lemon juice for flavor even though the berries have a low pH.

      I hope this helps — would love to hear how your jelly turns out.

  13. Deanna Cole
    | Reply

    What does the lemon juice do to help preserve the chokecherry jelly? What would happen if you did not use lemon juice?

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Dear Deanna,
      The lemon juice in the chokecherry jelly recipe is to ensure that the jelly is acid enough for safe water bath canning. The pH of chokecherries is around 3.8 to 4.2. Safe water bath canning requires a pH of 4.6 or below. We like our recipes to be well below 4.6.

      If you don’t add any lemon juice, you may be okay, but we can’t guarantee that. You could possibly reduce the amount of lemon juice to 2 Tablespoons per 4 cups of juice and be okay.

      I hope this helps.

  14. Marie
    | Reply

    I was just wondering if, after boiling the chokecherries, i know I have to strain them, but do I keep the water it boiled in, when straining and crushing, or do i discard the water before extracting the chokecherry juice?

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Dear Marie,
      You want to just cover the chokecherries with water when you boil them. Mash the cherries and the liquid they cooked in together. Then strain. You do use the water you cooked them in, but you don’t want the juice to be too watery.

      I hope this helps.

  15. Becky
    | Reply

    When I juiced the cherries, I didn’t put any water in with them, just boiled them down and used a masher to release most of the pulp (used a food mill for the jam, that was an experience! :), and strained the juice till it flowed freely through a jelly strainer. Although the juice still was somewhat astringent, it wasn’t as bad as the juice that had only been strained twice. As you say, it was very strong, so I cut it with water. I’m getting rave reviews with it, so I must have done something right 🙂

    I did use a strong honey, but I don’t feel like that was the problem, but I don’t have a lot of experience with it, so it could be. I didn’t feel the honey sweetened it enough to cover that bitter taste. I’ve got a lot more cherries, so I’ll experiment with other honeys.

    Thank you for the reply!

  16. Becky
    | Reply

    I have harvested choke cherries and experimented with them, and found if I strain the juice multiple times, I get very tasty jelly with two cups cherry juice, two cups water (quart of fluid), 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 cups organic sugar, 4 teaspoons Pomona’s, and 4 teaspoons calcium water. It sets up really well, although it’s a bit too sweet, so I’ll cut the sugar a bit next time. I also attempted to make a jam with honey. It jelled up fine, using the same measurements as above, but with a pulpy juice. However, the taste is very strong. I don’t think honey is a good mix with choke cherries. I thought I would share this info with you. I am really enjoying the success I’ve had with Pomona’s, thank you all for putting out a product for those of us that have an aversion to huge amounts of sugar, or to nasty chemicals… or both 🙂

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Dear Becky,
      Glad to hear your chokecherry jelly jelled.

      The difference between our recipe and yours is ours uses 4 cups of juice. Maybe your juice is very strong and needs to be cut with water? Juice made at home can vary quite a bit in strength depending on the method used.

      It’s good you used 1/4 cup lemon juice as chokecherries do require the addition of lemon for safe canning.

      That’s interesting that you didn’t like the jelly with honey. Did your honey have a strong flavor also?

      Thanks for sharing your experience and happy jamming!

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