Foraging for Choke Cherries

I'm a sucker for foraging for food.  I mean, what is not to like when you can go out into the wilderness and pick fruits and vegetables that are organic by default?

Almost all of our foraging is done along Oliver's Hike and Bike Path.  With our desert mountains, the plants that need a lot of water will only grow near a water source which makes a stroll down the Okanagan River the perfect opportunity to scout for food that is native to our land.

In early August, if you keep your eyes out, you will find beautiful trees filled with choke cherries!

Now, let's be frank...they are called choke cherries for a reason.  Not only are the pits huge in comparison to the fruit but they are sour enough to make your face pucker up!  But, what they are good for is making jelly, syrup, and juice!

We head to the trees with a small pull wagon, a large bucket, some scissors, and gardening gloves.  We clip the clusters of choke cherries with the scissors and then wait to clean them from their stems when we get home (it is much easier to do this in the shade!)  Once we have cleaned the berries we use our steam juicer to juice them and then we use the juice to make choke cherry jelly, syrup, and juice!  Yum!

We like to pick enough every year to last us until next season as well as to give the jelly and syrup as gifts to friends at Christmas time!  The bright red jelly in a clear jam jar wrapped with a ribbon makes a stunning gift!