September 13, 2010

Chokecherries

Monte and me harvested the chokecherries today. The bushes are on the edge of the woods, edging my lower garden. We figure they were planted 100 years ago by a homesteader, along with our rhubarb. Only the clusters on the garden side exist. Bear, deer, and elk have eaten all of them on the woods side. The chokecherries weigh in at 30 pounds! There used to be aspen trees over them, so they'd not always fully ripen. Colorado has it's droughts and several years ago was a bad one and lots of aspen trees died. We're in another drought this year cuz we've not had rain for 1 1/2 months and there's been wildfires.



I used to make chokecherry jam and syrup, but I don't like the amount of sugar it takes to make them palatable, so I stopped harvesting them. This year I decided I'm going to try making wine of them. We have a friend who's made wine from just about everything - like even beets! So from her trials and reading, chokecherries make a great wine - and I'm going to jump in. The chokecherries are bagged in the freezer for now - which is the best way to start the breaking down process for developing the 'must' and not crush the pits (which are undesirable).



I'll probably post pics of the process, but I can't report on the results for a year!
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