Beverly St. Pierre, Wells, Maine, remembers jellies made with chokecherries and elderberries, and hopes someone has recipes.
Recipe Box: Jelly and Jam Recipes and More
June Murphy, Rio Rancho, New Mexico, wrote in with this Chokecherry Jelly recipe, “My mother made chokecherry jelly when we were on the farm. She never used a recipe. She also made a thick syrup to put on pancakes, and she made jam, too. When she ran out of jelly jars, she canned the whole chokecherries in quart jars, then made them into jelly after we had eaten the first batch!
“I have memories of piling into the pickup (Mom driving, my aunt in the front with her, and my cousin and I in the back) and going to the North Platte River in the Nebraska panhandle where we picked the chokecherries. It was work, but getting to eat the jelly was our reward!”
Fully ripe cherries (about 31⁄2 pounds), stemmed
3 cups water
6 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 bottle fruit pectin
Place cherries and water in very large saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Place in jelly bag and squeeze out juice.
Measure 3 cups juice into another very large saucepan. Add sugar, mixing well. Place over high heat, then bring to boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin all at once, and bring to full rolling boil. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and skim off foam with metal spoon. Pour quickly into glasses. Cover at once with hot paraffin wax. (Sealing with paraffin wax is no longer recommended because the wax can pull away from the sides of the jar and allow air to reach the jelly. Sealing the jars in a boiling-water canner is preferred; see below.)
Bonnie Prow, Hanna, Wyoming, sends the processing instructions she uses when making Chokecherry Jelly:
Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer.
Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water, then rinse with warm water. Place flat lids in saucepan and cover with boiling water; let stand until ready to use. Drain lids and jars before filling.
Ladle hot jelly mixture quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1⁄8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads; cover with two-piece lids, screwing bands tightly.
Place jars on elevated rack in canner, then lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches, so add boiling water if needed. Cover and bring water to gentle boil. Process jellies for 5 minutes, or jams for 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
Let jars stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Store unopened jams and jellies in cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year. Refrigerate opened jams and jellies up to 3 weeks.
For altitudes above 1,000 feet, adjust processing time: 1,001 to 3,000, add 5 minutes; 3,001 to 6,000, add 10 minutes; 6,001 to 8,000, add 15 minutes; 8,001 to 10,000, add 20 minutes.