Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Making Chokecherry Syrup

I have mentioned that for the past little while we had been on a bit of a hiatus from our homesteading endeavors. For lots of reasons, we had decided to take a break from many of the projects and makings and do-it-ourselves-doings that come with the blessing of a simple life.

So last year, and perhaps the year before that if I remember, were a tad quieter than usual for us in the realm of homesteading.

The simple life is actually a lot of work in many ways, in our experience. And I, especially, needed that break to rest and re-evaluate. It was nice to have that time of simply enjoying our family and homeschooling and animals and property with a shorter to-do list and fewer chores... To purchase some of the foods and things that I often make myself. To choose to use my electric dryer more often than I used my clothes line. To buy rather than handcraft any of my Christmas gifts. To set aside my extra-crunchy-mama ways for a season.

It was good and necessary for us to pause and pray and plan and think about what direction we wanted our simple life on our farm to take now that we are debt-free and there have been so many changes in our family and world since we first embarked on our homesteading adventure nearly eighteen years ago.

Then, a few months ago, we began to feel the persistent desire to ease back into the deliberately self-sufficient (God-sufficient) and frugal and homemade simple lifestyle that we have lived and loved for years. I felt the pull of the land and the prompting of the Lord and it reawakened and rekindled my homesteading hopes and dreams.

It is such a blessing to be a one-income debt-free family and to have the skills and experience that we have collected over the many years on our homestead to draw from as we raise this large tribe of ours on our land. We want our family's memories to include lots of time in the out-of-doors and home food production and caring for animals and working with our own hands and enjoying each other and our homestead.

Is a homesteading lifestyle a lot of work? Yes, it most certainly is... but it is the kind of joyful and meaningful work that leaves us feeling satisfied and content. Close to God, close to home, and close to one another. And after that recent period of rest, we are practically itching to get back to it!

So this summer, I was pretty excited as the chokecherries began to ripen. We left them all for the birds last year, but this year I had chokecherry syrup making at the very top of my list of must-do keeper-at-home tasks.

We harvested the first chokecherries of the season from one of the bushes that grows alongside our long and winding mountainside driveway. From just that one bush, we foraged nearly a gallon of ripe and beautiful chokecherries!


I rinsed them and then cooked them with a bit of water so they would soften and I could extract their juice. What a cozy feeling it was for us all as the comfortable aroma of simmering chokecherries wafted from the pan and filled our little house.


Soon, I had my cooked chokecherries strained and started a pan of the chokecherry juice mixed with white sugar briskly bubbling on the stove top.


And my yield was four pints of delicious chokecherry syrup!


With a family as large as ours it would be quite an impractical undertaking for me to try to make *all* of our fruit syrups and jams and jellies and to put up all of our canned foods. But I do what I am able and that is enough. {smile} Our food storage is a lovely mix of both purchased and homemade items that we enjoy.

Oh... this wee batch of syrup is the first I have ever made using chokecherries that were exclusively harvested on our own land! Homegrown *and* homemade! And what a thrill it was for us to savor the familiar first taste of my homemade chokecherry syrup again. *Grateful!*

Ah.... I love love love the simple life. 💗