When you live where we do, you cannot hope to landscape likes folks in a warm suburb. First of all, at 6,000 feet with a min temp of -30 Fahrenheit you can’t grow a lot of warmer climate plants. Second, the deer seem to eat everything else you do grow. So we’ve been looking and I think I’ve found a tree to add.
I actually found it earlier when I was biking around the beautiful Round Valley and had to stop and go back to revel in the delicious fragrance. But I didn’t know what it was at the time. I do now.
It’s the black chokecherry.
It grows naturally up here. Has beautiful fragrant blossoms in the spring. And it produces fruit that can be made into a delicious syrup. Oh, the raccoons like it as well.
Now when you eat the raw berry, unless you eat it late in the fall, you’re in for an astringent, alum after-punch. But we picked the berries up a canyon behind our town after the first frosts. In fact, many of our berries were wrinkled. They just fine raw. Even Lilia, my pickiest eater, enjoyed them.
We picked about 1.25 gallon ice cream buckets of the stuff. Then we followed this recepie and made about 4 quarts of syrup.
- Wash chokecherries, place in a large kettle, barely cover with water and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes till the cherries are soft. Mash gently and strain the chokecherry juice through a sieve or cheesecloth.
- Do the same with the apples.
- Pour the juice into a large kettle; stir in the sugar.
- Cook on high, stirring constantly.
- Boil hard for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and skim foam.
- To can: Pour hot syrup into sterilized hot jars to within 1/8th inch from top.
It’s absolutely delicious on pancakes.