Monday, August 3, 2009

They're called that for a reason

Someone at the park happened to casually mention in passing, 'the chokecherries are ripe.' Little did he know ...

They are, indeed. I've never picked chokecherries before, never even knew what they looked like until yesterday. They don't really look like cherries, more like large wild grapes. And they are called chokecherries for a reason -- one taste sent my husband scrambling for a glass of water. Sour!

I decided to try to make jelly this time. Trying to put the chokecherries through a food mill with their large seeds seemed too hard a task. So I had to cook the cherries for fifteen minutes to soften them up, and mash them to release the juice and pulp. I had to be careful not to break the seeds -- they contain a form of cyanide. Eaten in concentrated amounts, they will make you sick.

Then the pulp and juice is strained through a fine-mesh bag. The juice collects in a bowl underneath. I let this sit overnight, covered with a towel.

Tonight I will make the jelly. Never made jelly before, so we'll see how it goes.

I also picked the seed pods from my rutabaga plants yesterday. They will finish drying in this bucket. If I didn't pick them now, the pods would crack open on their own and scatter the seed every which way. I like to hear the seeds rattle in the pods when I shake them, kinda like a maraca. As you can see, I am easily amused.

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