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WHY DON'T WE HAVE PLANTS LIKE THIS FOR SALE IN OUR NURSERIES (OR DO WE?) AND WHY DON'T WE SEE EDIBLES LIKE THIS IN OUR GROCERY STORES?

If I were queen of my own garden store I would limit most of my stock to native plants (and of these, most would be producers of edibles).  I would provide enticing signage that would educate people regarding these plants and what to do with the edibles they produce.

IMAGINE THIS!

BUY CHOKEBERRY SHRUBS TODAY AND MAKE JAM IN THE FALL!

 

Wiki Commons - Mrigashirsha - FlickrChokeberries 

With a Chokeberry shrub, you can have almost everything!

The Chokeberry is a deciduous shrub that has everything:  clusters of lovely spring blossoms that provide nectar for pollinators and beauty for the world; dense clusters of juicy red fruit (for birds, animals and people); and as a last gift of the year this lovely shrub produces lovely fall foliage.

Chokeberry grows all over Texas as well as the southern and eastern USA. It is also known by many other names: Common Choke Cherry, Chokecherry, Wild Black Cherry, Cabinet Cherry, Rum Cherry, Whiskey Cherry, Black Chokeberry, Caupulin.  

According to Aggie Horticulture: "The white spring to early summer flowers are held on 3- to 6-inch dense cylindric racemes. They are followed by 1/4- to 1/3-inch-diameter juicy, thick-skinned, astringent and barely edible dark red fruit which ripens to dark purple or black."

The berries are tart and bitter when eaten alone and thus "difficult to choke down"--hence the name.  Well, why bother with chokeberries?

Green Deane from Eat the Weeds answer that questions: ". . .a host of potential positive chemicals including blue Malvidin, Caffeic Acid (an anti-oxidant also found in wine) blue Delphinidin, dark red-purple Cyanidin-3-Galactoside, and Epicatechin, an anti-oxidant found in chocolate. We may not be able to pronounce them but they are anti-… anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-arterial plaque, anti-cholesterol, anti-cancer, anti-flu, anti-E coli, anti-high blood sugar, anti-herpes, anti-HIV, anti-Crohn’s Disease as well as improving insulin production while protecting the liver and the stomach. No toxic effects are reported and the genus is naturally pest resistant."

Deane also tells us: "they can be made into jams, jellies, juice (by itself or blended) pies and other baked goods. They are also made into wine, stronger alcoholic beverages, pickles, flavoring for ice cream and yogurt and used as a natural food coloring. Among native Americans the Abnaki and Potawatomi ate them for food."

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TRY THIS RECIPE FROM FOOD.COM FOR CHOKEBERRY JAM

B This recipe yields 7 half pints of jam

Ingredients:

3 1⁄2 cups prepared fruit (about 3 lb fully ripe chokeberries)

1 cup water

1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin

1⁄4 teaspoon butter (optional)

6 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer.

Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water.

Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Crush chokeberries thoroughly, one layer at a time.

Place chokeberries and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until tender.

Press through a sieve.

Measure exactly 3 1/2 cups pulp into 6 or 8 qt saucepot. Stir in lemon juice. Stir pectin into prepared pulp in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8" of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2 piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1-2". Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes.

Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.).

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