NORTHWOODS COOKS: Wild Minnesota jellies
On a cold winter day, jellies and jams are a taste of summer on a spoon.
In most locations, chokecherry season is mid-August to early September, so there is still time to make up a batch of chokecherry jelly. According to the online Encyclopedia Britannica, the chokecherry is a deciduous shrub belonging to the rose family and native to North America. It is named for the acidic taste of its reddish cherries, which may be made into jelly and preserves.
Rose hips are the accessory fruit of the rose plant. Typically red to orange in color, they begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through autumn.
The University of Minnesota extension page has tips for how to can food to make sure the finished product is safe. These recipes are from their website.
Steps for extracting chokecherry juice:
When extracting juice for pectin-added jelly, use ripe chokecherries. Wash fruit in cool, running water. Add water to cover the chokecherries. Bring to a boil in a covered stainless steel or enamel kettle, then simmer for 15 minutes or until soft. Cool and strain through cheesecloth or a damp jelly bag. One pound of chokecherries will give approximately 2 cups juice.
When extracting juice from chokecherries, do not crush the seeds. These seeds contain a cyanide-forming compound that can cause illness or death if eaten in large amounts.
3 cups chokecherry juice
6-1/2 cups sugar
1 box (2 pouches, 6 ounces) liquid pectin
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Pour juice into large, heavy saucepan. Add sugar and stir to mix. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir and skim off foam for 5 minutes. Add almond extract.
Pour jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint or pint jars to 1/4 inch of top. Seal with two-piece canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath. The time in the boiling water bath varies by elevation. For Minnesota, it is 5 minutes for half or quarter pints and 10 minutes for pint jars.
Rose Hip Jelly
When extracting juice for pectin-added jelly, use ripe rose hips. For best flavor and jelling, rose hips should be picked after the first killing frost. Remove blossom remnants and stems from rose hips. Wash them in cool running water, then add water to cover the rose hips.
Bring to a boil in a covered stainless steel or enamel kettle and simmer for 15 minutes or until soft. Cool and strain through cheesecloth or a damp jelly bag. One pound of rose hips will give approximately 2 cups of juice.
4 cups rosehip juice
7-1/2 cups sugar
1 box (2 pouches) liquid pectin (6 ounces)
Measure juice and stir in sugar. Place on high heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a full, rolling boil. Add the liquid pectin and heat to a full boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off foam. Pour jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint or pint jars to 1/4 inch of top. Seal with two-piece canning lids.
Process in a boiling water bath. The time in the boiling water bath varies by elevation. For Minnesota, it is 5 minutes for half or quarter pints and 10 minutes for pint jars.
Readers are invited to submit 4 to 5 of their favorite recipes to enjoy along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.