Chokecherries need more attention!

Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)August 6, 2012

We have them growing wild all over the place, Prunus virginiana,.. I used to ignore them, not anymore. I think this is a valuable fruit which needs more attention. I have some seedling trees now and since recently I couldn't believe the difference in flavors etc. amongst them. Surprisingly I have tasted one the other day which was nice right off the tree, not heaving a bad choking and tart feeling in your throat,..just a pleasantly eating cherry right off the tree.

One more cherry in my book for foraging!

Have you tasted them lately? There should be several out there which are not bad for eating, [seedling trees from birds].

I guess breeders never really stressed the taste issue since they consider as ornamental trees, ....I'm thinking now of the Schubert Cherry, perhaps we need to consider taste also.

Mind you, nothing wrong with the astringent cherry, they make wonderful Jellies.

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copingwithclay

An uncle in south Louisiana had a 30 ft tall chokecherry back in 1965 and we climbed atop his shed to pick the darkest cherries. The flavor of the tiny fruit was wonderful.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:40PM
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denninmi(8a)

I planted one about 4-5 years ago. Of course, being a fast grower, it's getting large. Mine is 'Virginia Red' with purple foliage, so no doubt selected more for leaf color than fruit quality. It's had a few, last year, but the birds took them. The few I tasted were relatively astringent but would have made good jelly. I was looking forward to a larger crop this year but the freeze took them.

But yes, I'm sure you're right, another crop with a lot of potential if someone would be willing to put in the effort to do the breeding and selection.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:48AM
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fruitmaven.WIz5(5)

I was hiking a few weekends ago in near my home in WI, and noticed a lot of chokecherry trees and bushes. I tried one fruit, and it was sweet and tasty, though small. I didn't eat more since there were blackberries too, and I had to look up what type of tree it was when I got home.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 9:57AM
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spartan-apple

Many years ago we had chokecherry(Prunus virginiana) growing near our cabin in central WI. One summer I spend
the whole summer there doing an internship with Green Giant. Because of this, I put in a vegetable patch next to
the chokecherry and kept it watered.

The cherries produced were quite prolific! A neighbor lady
asked if she could pick them for jelly. I complied and she
returned the favor with a jar of jelly. It was fantastic!
That tree soon turned into a chokecherry patch as either
root suckers or seeds dropped by the birds began growing everywhere.

It seems there is a lot of genetic variation in Prunus virginiana. We grow it here at the nursery I work at. The
leaf is just slightly different from those in the wild by our old cabin. Judging from the previous posts, I am not
surprised the flavor/tartness varies too.

The only bad news I have is that the birds just love to eat the fruit. My sister makes jelly from the wild ones each year and some years she gets fruit and some years the birds strip them clean before she can get out to pick.

It would be neat if someone could find a version that stays
short (for ease in netting) and has great fruit quality/yield. Our wild ones grow about 18' tall!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:46AM
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mrsg47(7)

What do they taste like?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:18PM
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beegood_gw

I have them growing wild all over the place and like mixing them with hi-bush cranberries for syrup. Not everyones taste but I love it. Great on pancakes.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:43PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

MrsG47,

I would describe the taste as "the driest red wine ever". But IMHO there is no better jelly than chokecherry. Maybe it's just the memories of picking them with my grandma and spreading the jelly on toast, ppj's or pancakes made in her kitchen. To me they were jars full of love.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:09PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

MrsG47,

I would describe the taste as "the driest red wine ever". But IMHO there is no better jelly than chokecherry. Maybe it's just the memories of picking them with my grandma and spreading the jelly on toast, ppj's or pancakes made in her kitchen. To me they were jars full of love.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:17PM
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mrsg47(7)

Thanks Milehigh! Interesting. How much room do they need?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:51PM
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bruce2288

I would say take a tart cherry,wild plum cross and add a 1/4 teaspoon of alum. After being puckered so bad I was afraid of a permanent smooch I haven't tried them often. so maybe some of the wild ones on my land are good.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:17PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Well, the first one takes about four square feet. After that they spread into a thicket and will take over. I don't really know if they spread by root or just by seed, but they will spread. I have one in my yard that I am managing to keep looking like a tree, at least for now. The main problem with them is that it's hard to get enough berries to do anything with unless you have a thicket. Finding a wild stand is the best thing.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 1:46AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you all!
I find they all have different growing habits, some grow nice as a tree and grow tall, some grow more like a shrub,..have a area with a bunch of them but they never grow tall, perhaps 10 feet max. They all will sucker, some close to the trunk, some further out.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 2:04AM
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