Gifts from Our Forests

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

at the end of summer through early fall. Black cherry syrup is beyond compare on a fresh stack of pancakes or a dish of ice cream! This is a favorite, for it takes only a handful of berries to make several recipes. These little dark purple-to-black colored berries go a long way. We used the same berries to make jelly and then syrup. Jan Phillips provides a simple recipe:

Black Cherry Jelly

Cover the cherries with water and simmer for 10 minutes or more. Strain off the juice and measure it. For each cup of liquid add 1G cups of sugar and a package of pectin per every four cups. A trick to making jelly is to measure the liquid and add pectin before returning to the stove. Just as the liquid begins to boil, add the sugar and stir almost continuously until the mixture thickens and the last couple of drops that fall off the spoon slither together and drop like thin jelly. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, spoon off the scum created by the pectin, and your jelly is ready to bottle and seal or cover with paraffin.

Black Cherry Syrup

Use the same berries from above. Place fresh water over the cherries and boil for 15 minutes. This second water makes a syrup that is a pleasant surprise for pancakes. Add equal amounts of sugar and a dab of butter to your juice, return to the stove and boil for just long enough to notice a thickening of the liquid.

CAUTION: don't let any black cherry leaves fall into your pot. The wilted leaves develop an acid which has killed animals. Never make tea out of these leaves.

You can make quite a bit of syrup out of a small cache if you don't like making jelly. Keep in mind that the second boiling is a bit weaker. Experiment! A third boiling may also be possible.

Some common woodland flowers known to many people are the wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta, Oxalis violacea, or others in the Oxalis genus). The leaves taste sour: vaguely lemony: when picked raw. Be conservative in consuming these raw, as some people can tolerate the oxalic acid responsible for the "zip" (sour taste) in only small amounts. You may wish to add either the leaves or tiny yellow or purple flowers to salads for flavor and color. The greens are a great addition to a greens pot, or to

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