Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Chokecherry Wine


Chokecherry syrup.
Delicious in so many ways.
Another trip to the berry patch . . .
The digging out of the 'berry pails' wasn't always a reason for celebration.
When Mom headed towards the saskatoon bushes, yes.
But when the car turned to the chokecherry patch.
Not so much.
Don't get me wrong, we loved the end product of both enterprises.
But the picking of saskatoons also involved interim rewards. ie. the eating of said berries.
Chokecherries?
Again, not so much.
Fresh from the bush, they were . . . how shall I say this genteel-ly . . .?
Icky.
In fact, before any of the bright red berries passed our lips, they had to be cooked and treated.
And added upon.
And poured into jars.
As jam.
Or even better, syrup.
You have to know that there was nothing quite like homemade chokecherry syrup on Mom's fluffy pancakes.
Mmmmm.
Where was I?
Oh, yes.
Syrup.
It was a great family favourite.
My Husby's mother made fabulous chokecherry syrup as well.
Every year.
She then dispensed bottles of it to eagerly awaiting offspring.
It went fast.
As soon as one bottle emptied, another took its place.
And therein (good word) lies a tale . . .
We had been using one bottle of syrup.
Then, as often happens in a household where ten people are sharing the fridge, our little bottle got pushed to the back and hidden behind a bottle of pickles.
I should explain, here, that we always purchased everything edible in gi-normous (made-up word denoting humongous-ness) sizes.
Because mealtime for our bunch strongly resembled the feeding of a threshing crew.
So the idea of a quart-sized bottle being hidden behind a monstrous jar shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
Moving on . . .
There our little jar remained.
While I opened another.
Which was subsequently used.
And replaced.
Some months later, when I finally reached the back of our fridge, I discovered our forgotten, woefully neglected little bottle of chokecherry syrup.
Dismayed at the thought of lost deliciousness, I opened the lid.
And sniffed.
Huh.
Weird.
Probably, I should mention that neither of us drink alcohol.
What follows makes more sense if I do . . .
“Grant, what's wrong with this chokecherry syrup?” I asked. “It smells . . . funny.”
“Funny, how?”
“Well, funny.”
I handed him the jar.
He sniffed. “I think you've created chokecherry wine, honey.” he said, grinning at me.
“What? How did I do that?”
“Fruit. Sugar. Neglect.”
Huh. So that's how it's done . . . “So what do I do with it now?”
“Well I know someone who would probably enjoy it!”
We took it to our friend, who looked at it.
Swirled it around in the jar.
Sniffed it.
Then finally tasted it.
He looked at us. “Best chokecherry wine I've ever had,” he said, grinning.
Trust the two teetotallers to do it up right.
From the chokecherry patch, through Mom's kitchen (and fridge), to a tavern near you.
Bottom's up!

14 comments:

  1. Now I will have to look up chokeberry! Anything handpicked, made into jam or syrup has my vote!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine, too! Just a word of caution...use it up. :)

      Delete
  2. I don't believe my folks used the chokecherries for anything and we had lots of bushes on the farm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tragic! Think of all that syrup that could have been put to . . . good . . . use!

      Delete
  3. You are always educating me on something that we don't know about in our neck of the woods. Or are you making this up? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great story! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome. And thank you for visiting!

      Delete
  5. That's pretty funny!

    I've had chokecherries straight from the tree (kids will eat anything) and I've had chokecherry jelly. There is an enormous gap between the two tastes :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enormous! Amazing what a little sugar can make palatable!

      Delete
  6. This is a cute one!
    Blessings for the smiles!

    ReplyDelete

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