I opportunistically picked about 1 kg of chokeberries (a blueberry/saskatoon relative) and about 2 cups of wild blueberries. Aronia melanocarpa/Photinia melanocarpa. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a good recipe online, and as this will be my first jam making project (and 4th canning project) I don't understand canning well enough to make up a recipe.
The berries are bitter/astringent when raw with a bit of the almond-taste of saskatoons, but taste wonderful when zapped in the microwave with sugar. I want to make a jam with it, but have no idea where to start.
"Wild Berries of Ontario" says that: "they make a tasty and good looking jelly either alone or mixed with other fruits. These pomes are rich in pectin and can be added to low pectin fruits such as blueberries when making jam or jelly to get a stronger set".
Alternatively - can anyone explain how to tell if I need pectin or not, and how much sugar to add to make a long term shelf stable jam?
Aronia is my #1 jam every year. I usually make it with something else in season at the same time.
Last year I used white plums which are very sweet:
Cook down whhite plum puree on simmer for 45 minutes (condensing down the puree to be thicker and sweeter), add whole aronia berries in equal quantity by weight and bring to a simmer - then simmer for 45 min (keeps berries whole but mushy). Fill into jars and water bath boiling for 20 minutes.
I like this recipe because the berries keep good shape and the whole berries make an attractive natural spread. This recipe has no added sugar or pectin, and sets up medium firm (not hard, but won't run out of the jar when tipped either.
I have also had good results with half aronia and half blackberry jam.
Just a tip on ripeness: Aronia berries will get black many weeks before they are really ripe. When ripening from red to black, there should be no red berries left on the whole bush and the time from first blackish berries to fully rip is 4-6 weeks. The berries will be fat and easily leak juice when ripe. Many people pick the berries before they are ripe and decide they don't like aronia berries - a tragic mistake...
Aronia jelly is my favorite as well! Unfortunately my extension office doesn't think it can be safely canned so I can't sell it at the market.
My recipe is:
3.5 cups aronia juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 pkg pectin
6 cups sugar
We use a steam juicer to get the juice. Add everything but sugar to a non-reactive kettle. Bring to a boil, add sugar, stir and bring to a rolling boil for two min. Put in jars and process like the other jelly recipes. We do 1/4" head space, 10 minutes in the canner and powdered pectin. This recipe makes about 3.5 pint jars.
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Location: Ontario - zone 5b
posted 2 months ago
Thank you for the responses and the recipes - I learned a lot!
a) Chokeberries can be called Aronia berries, which sounds much nicer
b) You can make sugar free jam (and via more googling, the science for how this works)
c) Steam juicers are really cool and I want one
d) I need to invite myself back to the friend's cottage I picked these at in 4 weeks to pick more berries when they are actually ripe
I ended up making a hybrid recipe. I used sugar because I am sharing with my father who is NOT a believer in "health food" and the berries were underripe. I didn't add in peaches or other berries because I don't have access to any fresh and it seemed a shame to use store bought.
A bit less than 2 kg of aronia berries
3 c sugar
1 cut up lemon (as a source of pectin, and for acidity)
Simmered until formed a jam-like consistency. Delicious and really rich tasting! Canned in a water bath for 20 min in 250mL jars.
Thank you again for the help.
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