Wild and Free!

Chokecherry syrup is one of our favorite treats provided from the prairies here in Southern Alberta – it’s wild and free! August is harvest time for this wild and free fruit – but pay heed to the name – transforming it into syrup takes the ‘choke’ out of it. It’s delectable on toast or buckwheat pancakes.



  1. Wash in cool water and pick out leaves and any fruit that floats to the top. Drain.
  2. Place in a large stainless steel pot and just cover with filtered or spring water.
  3. Bring to a boil and  simmer 15 -30 minutes until soft.
  4. Cool and strain through  a cloth, cone-shaped fruit press or jelly bag. When extracting juice from chokecherries DO NOT crush the seeds – they contain a cyanide-forming compound which can cause illness or death if eaten in large amounts. .

One pound of chokecherries will yield close to 2 cups of juice. I had  two 1 gallon pails more than 3/4 full of ripe chokecherry’s and got 14 cups of juice.


  • 12 cups chokecherry juice
  • 4 cups sugar

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into hot, sterilized canning jars (place clean jars in a 220F oven for 10 minutes to sterilize). Seal with two-piece canning lids (boil for 5 minutes in a sauce pan to sterilize).