Chokecherries

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Steve North, May 15, 2016.

  1. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    Just across the street from our house is forest.. Along the edge there are berries called "choke cherries" that I pick when they turn dark burgundy.. They are rather sour to eat like that, but I can't resist eating them and getting a sour mouth..
    I generally pick them (about one gallon), wash them, put them in a very large pot with just 3 cups of water, and cook them till they fall apart stirring often..
    They have rather large pits which I get rid of by straining the mixture through a strainer with larger holes.. I now have the pulp and the juice that goes back into the pot to reduce somewhat..
    I then add my sugar..... Tons of sugar.. Tons and tons of sugar till the mixture is acceptable and sweet..
    I remove the pot and let it cool.. I put the mixture in jars and in the fridge..

    The syrup is the most delicious thing on vanilla ice cream..
    Mixed with either ginger ale or club soda..
    On top of yogurt..
    I can go on and on with what to do with the syrup, but it is good just plain with a spoon.......

    Has anyone else heard of Choke Cherries and what do you do with them ???

    THE REST OF THE BERRIES WE LIKE WATCHING THE BEARS COME AROUND AND EAT THEM..
     
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  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Steve North "Has anyone else heard of Choke Cherries"

    Yes! My friend and co-worker Greg Sanchez, whose parents emigrated to New Mexico from Spain before the Depression, made the remark once to me that some fruit we were looking at reminded him of Choke cherries. I had never heard of them, and a number of berries unusual to my experience came to mind. The matter was not resolved until just now, when your OP title reminded me of them!

    An interesting fact I just read, below, quoted from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_virginiana

    "Chokecherry is toxic to horses, moose, cattle, goats, deer, and other animals with segmented stomachs (rumens), especially after the leaves have wilted (such as after a frost or after branches have been broken) because wilting releases cyanide and makes the plant sweet. About 10–20 lbs of foliage can be fatal."
     
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  3. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    We have chokecherries in our yard and on our land up north. We had several of them around home too. Mom would mix a small amount of chokecherries in with regular cherries, as we had a regular cherry tree too, when she was making cherry pie, and I would eat them from the tree as they were, as I do now from time to time. Unlike apple trees, which require more than one variety for the purpose of cross-pollination, cherry trees will bear fruit with only one tree, but my understanding is that having other cherry trees in the area serves to encourage bees to visit the area and pollinate the crops. That's why people growing apples will often have a crabapple tree, and I think that's why we had a couple of chokecherry trees.
     
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  5. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    Thanks Joe:...
    I have been picking berries from that bush for the past 10 years and they are definitely chokecherries..
    I haven't been sick once because of them..
    Besides I don't think the other berry grows up here..
     
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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  7. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    "Has anyone else heard of Choke Cherries"
    I have never heard of them - they don't sound appetising do they :p
     
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  8. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    Patsy..
    I have been eating chokecherries almost all my life whenever they are available and have NEVER been sick..
    I love them cooked like I described and over ice-cream or as a syrup in a drink..
    When eaten just plain, they are somewhat sour and it takes some getting used to, but there again, I love them just plain..
     
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  9. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    @Steve North
    Hi Steve, my post was a little cheeky as the name 'choke' berries gave me a giggle
    We don't have them in England as far as I know - but they agree with you and as long as they don't live up to their name
    keep chewing those berries :)
     
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  10. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    Patsy:
    that's OK because we don't all know everything about different things that grow in different countries..
    Chokecherries are something that I make only every other year as it is a whole day just to get a large jar of the syrup..
    I usually end up with 2 or 3 jars that are 2 liters each.. sounds like a lot but it doesn't last long in our house..
    The berries are best when picked dark burgundy.. They are a bit sweeter when dark..
    The berries will only be ready to pick in the fall, sometimes near the middle of September..
    When I don't pick them, we like watching the bears come around and wipe the bush clean of berries..
    This year there are millions of flowers on the bushes, enough for everyone.. Looks like a very good year for those berries..
     
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    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  11. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    THERE WILL BE NO CHOKECHERRIES THIS YEAR ....
    There were a few Black Bears that found the chokecherry bushes and they wiped the bushes clean of all berries..
    These bushes were just across from our house.. Just on the other side of the road.. There were literally millions of dark berries and they are all gone now.. I was waiting for them to turn almost black before picking as that is when they are the sweetest.. Not that they are sweet to begin with, even ripe..
    The bears beat me to them.. They even tried to climb up the bush, which is impossible, to get to the top ones which they managed to get..
    To make a bad situation worse, they gave me a present... They dropped the biggest load of Bear Poop you ever saw just on top of my driveway.. Again, not just one bear, but two poop piles that are full of seeds.. They must of been eating those berries from somewhere else..

    NO CHOKECHERRY SAUCE THIS YEAR ...
     
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  12. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  13. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    Joe..
    Its not really the fact I won't be making some chokecherry syrup this year..
    Or the fact the bears beat me to the berries..
    Or the fact that I was outwitted by a few black bears..
    Or the fact they must eat and berries are their primary food..

    BUT THE 2 LOADS OF BEAR POOP IN MY DRIVEWAY GETS ME
     
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  14. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
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    I have heard of chokecherries, I don't know if they are in my home area or not, I will ask my mother. She will know. I know if they are around we never picked them. It's funny how different types of berries grow in different regions. Some areas have dew berries and gooseberries too. Since bears are opportunistic feeders, it doesn't surprise me they would pig out on chokecherries, much to your dismay..;)
     
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  15. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    The Bear Stops Here!:eek:
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    I haven't heard of choke cherries but I guess it is like some of the wild berries here. And I can liken that to either the Bignay which is smaller than real cherries or the bigger rattan fruits which have no match for its sour flavor. Although it is considered a rarity now, we still have these rattan fruits which are sometimes sold in the supermarket. And I guess that rattan fruit can be a substitute for choke cherries in making that homemade syrup that you said is best for vanilla ice cream. IMG_4834 yantok fruit ok.JPG
     
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  17. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Corie, the Rattan fruit is interesting. When I think of rattan,I think of furniture. Steve's choke-berries have a different and more appetizing appearance. Keep in mind, however, I have never tasted them.:)
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    I find it very nice when I get a big thank-you for something.. It is really polite to thank for something..

    Today, a HUGE Black Bear came over to my driveway and personally thanked me for all those berries it ate yesterday..

    IT DROPPED THE BIGGEST POOP YOU EVER SAW RIGHT ON MY DRIVEWAY...

    I do believe that was the way the bear is thanking me...

    Now, how do I say to it....."your Welcome" .......
    I could bring out my .303 but that isn't a good idea because the bears are not acting dangerous..

    Any suggestions ???????????????????
     
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  19. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  20. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    The problem with bear spray is you have to see and be up close to the bear to spray..
    As soon as the bear sees me, it runs away.. They don't want anything other than food, which is the berries..
    There are NO more berries, so I assume they won't be back for them, however the bears are all over the place, but they don't really bother us other than being there..
    Very few bears are considered a nuisance and when we get one, we drop it..

    Another question is....... When was the last time someone was attacked by a black bear up in our area ????
    The answer is ....... Can't remember... That is how long its been.. Many many years and then they were trying to feed the bear....
    Out west, it is different.. Up here, the bears don't attack people...
     
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  21. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I got curious, so did a little (very little) research, and came up with this:

    Bear scats don't hold the contagious microorganisms some carnivore droppings do. Blood tests showed that researchers who had handled bear scats for decades were negative for any of these microorganisms.
    Examining the poop would be an interesting way to teach children about the animals and what they consume. I wonder if there's a market on eBay for bear poop? Here's the link where I found that quote.
     
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  22. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    ...the real poop on bear scat!;)
    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    I was just looking at the chokecherry bushes and even the cherries on top are gone..
    The birds must of eaten them, especially the Ravens...
     
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  24. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Nevermore!

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    Speaking of worms............................................................

    Q...What's worse than finding a worm in an apple ??????????????????????????

    A... finding half a worm........... Where's the other half ????????????
     
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