Homemade Choke Cherry Jam and Apricot Fruit Roll-Ups Recipe

In the small town of Amenia, North Dakota, I grew up to appreciate the little things in life. A quiet farming community, the fresh air, the folks who keep the country fed. My parents taught me how to live off the land. They raise their own animals for food and had a large garden each year.

Preserving Traditions and Boosting Health

Those traditions are so ingrained into who I am it’s hard to imagine not continuing to teach those methods to my children now that I have a family of my own. It’s so rewarding to show them how it used to be and some of the survival techniques that separate you from the herd.

Winter is a serious thing in North Dakota and Minnesota. You have to prepare and preserve all that you can to make it through the winter. Now that my mother has cancer, there’s an added urgency to stay as healthy as possible. Putting health first and boosting immunity to ward off any signs of illness has become even more important.

A lot of our essential nutrients can be found all around us. I recently spotted a patch of chokecherry trees on the way to visit my folks in Amenia. We had fun picking them on a steep riverside bank with our Grandpa Zurn. I compare choke cherry trees to elderberries. They give an extra pucker to your taste buds and are loaded with the magic of sunshine and goodness not too many people tend to eat. Grandma keeps some of this in her secret jelly stash she won’t let anyone else have.

Choke Cherry Jelly Recipe

This recipe is for approximately 3, 16 oz. jars of jelly and you can scale up depending on how many berries you pick.

Choke Cherry Jelly

Recipe by Faye Schnell




  • Chokecherry Berries

  • Water

  • Sugar

  • Lemon Juice

  • Pectin


  • We picked enough berries to fill a large 12 quart stock pot.
  • Added water to just below the top of the berries in the pot.
  • Boil the berries gently for about 40 minutes to release the juices into the water.
  • Strain out the berries from the juice.
  • The remainder was about 6 cups of juice.
  • Add 6 cups of sugar to the juice.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • 5-6 tsps of pectin
  • Boil the juice for 1 hour or so, or until the juice has reduced enough to start to gel.


  • I always do a gel test in a small dish and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to see if it gels. If it doesn’t gel, I keep cooking. There are times I have to reboil a batch of jelly because it doesn’t set. If this happens, add more sugar and pectin.

Apricot Fruit Roll-Up Recipe

My father has a small apricot orchard out at the family farm and since we’re teaching the kids about preservation and growing our own future orchard, we went to help pick a bunch of them to make fruit roll-ups. We will be saving the seeds to grow our own trees at our hunting land for the deer and wild game birds. The deer and turkeys love them!

Apricot Fruit Roll-Up

Recipe by Faye Schnell

Join us in turning fresh orchard apricots into delicious, homemade fruit roll-ups perfect for preservation! Learn the family-friendly recipe and how we save seeds for future orchards to delight the wilderness wildlife.


  • Peeled Apricots

  • Sugar

  • Lime Juice


  • Pit enough apricots to fill a large 12 quart cooking pot. (Save the seeds to plant later!)
  • Lightly cook the apricots until they are very soft. About 1 hour or so.
  • Let the apricots cool and then puree with a stick blender or food processor until the mixture is smooth.
  • I ended up with 28 cups of Apricot Puree, so I added 12 cups of sugar.
    - The sugar content is to your taste, add enough to not make you pucker too much. They are tart!
  • Juice of five limes.
  • Line your dehydrator with parchment paper, each tray holds about 2 cups of puree at 1/4” thick.
  • Dehydrate for 8 hours or so until dried to a light tackiness.
  • Remove and cut into strips.
  • Eat immediately or save for the winter months.


  • To preserve, vacuum seal them in a food saver bag to keep the air out. (We will be eating these at hunting camp this year.)

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