Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Eagle Butte

Preserving fall harvest through canning

Fall time can be crunch time for food preservation for all you canners out there who love this time of year. If it is your first time canning, here are few helpful tips.

We have fruits that grow wild that are great for jams and jellies, for example, chokecherries, plums and buffalo berries, which tend to ripen around the same time of the year and are ready to be processed. 

It can be overwhelming to feel the need to start canning immediately after you have picked 10 gallons of fruits, but using different techniques and with proper planning, you can alleviate some stress and ensure that you create delicious foods that you want.  

Freezing chokecherries and plums is a great method to preserve food after you have picked them, which can make it easier for you to plan and prepare for a later date when you are ready to use the fruit the way you best see fit, whether it is making them into jams, patties or syrups.

When harvesting and preparing to preserve, it is always good to research and educate yourself on methods that may work best for you. 

There are all numerous sources of information on the web for canning, pickling, making jellies, etc. It can be challenging to choose the right recipe and method that is best for you and your family, so planning ahead of time is a great way to eliminate the last-minute stress of having to rush. 

If you are fortunate enough to have a family recipe, a family method, or wisdom from your mother, grandmother, or aunties, then you’re all set to plan and prepare. Proper planning, budgeting, gathering all essential ingredients, cookware and containers to start the process are important.

Often times, we use don’t think about the large amounts of sugar it takes to make jellies and jams. With experimentation, you can lower the levels of sugar in a recipe for a healthier alternative, however, the texture and taste may be altered.

After developing a routine of food preservation, your hard work and efforts will pay off. Keep a calendar to track the process and progress and compare each year as you go along. All these techniques will help make your food source last. 

Here is a chokecherry syrup recipe from the


– 4 cups chokecherries 

– 4 cups water

– 4 cups sugar

– 1/2 T. orange juice 

– 1 1/2 T. lemon juice

– 1 to 2 T. powdered pectin (if needed) 


1. Add 4 cups of chokecherries to a sauce pan. 

2. Cover with 4 cups of water 

3. Bring to a boil, then cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. 

4. Strain juice through strainer, then mash the chokecherries to extract as much juice as possible. 

5. Dump the pits and pulp into a bowl and cover with more water. Use this liquid to extract more juice if needed so that you end up with a total of 4 cups of juice. 

6. Poor 4 cups of juice into sauce pan and stir in 4 cups of sugar. 

7. Add either a combination of orange and lemon juice or one or the other. 

8. Stir occasionally, over medium heat, for approximately for 20 to 30 minutes. 

9. Take a 1/4 cup of the syrup and place in the refrigerator until completely cool. If the syrup has the desired consistency, continue onto canning.

10. If you prefer a thicker syrup, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of pectin as you stir the syrup and boil for a few minutes. 

11. Poor into sterilized jars and process in hot water for 10 minutes.