Asasaweminagaawanzh (Chokecherries)

chokecherries, harvested food, Holiday Gift, ojibwe -

Asasaweminagaawanzh (Chokecherries)

Enjoy the sweet “Taste of White Earth” and try our Chokecherry Syrup, hand harvested from our homelands and processed by the Anishinaabeg of the White Earth Nation.


Asasaweminagaawanzh (Chokecherries)

Prunus virginiana

Chokecherries flower in May to early June and ripen in August. At White Earth Indian Reservation, chokecherries have been a part of our diet as long as we have inhabited the land. This unique fruit can be eaten fresh or cooked, but the pit should never be eaten unless the berries have been cooked or dried. The pit (not the fruit) contains hydrocyanic acid, which is poisonous. The acid in the pit is destroyed when the berries are cooked or dried.

Traditionally, chokecherry berries were crushed with stones and then heated in a pan with lard and sugar. The berries were also used with Pemmican in cakes or cooked in stews after they had been crushed and dried. More about that below…

At Native Harvest, we have handcrafted an exquisite syrup for your enjoyment. It is perfectly paired with your favorite ice cream or poured over our fluffy Wild Rice Pancakes. Our homemade Chokecherry Syrup is also a great topping for savory meat dishes or added to your oatmeal or toast.

The chokecherry was also used by various tribes to make Pemmican. It was adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade, and later adopted by explorers. Pemmican was made by drying meat and pounding it into a fine texture with stone. Bone marrow and animal lard were heated and mixed with the meat.  Then, crushed chokecherries were added to the mixture.  Pemmican would be stored as a high energy winter food, and kept people from starving if food became scarce. 

Though hopefully food scarcity is behind us, we hope you will indulge yourself and devour some of our Chokecherry Syrup over some steaming hot pancakes or drizzled over your favorite cheesecake during the holidays! And remember our Chokecherry Syrup and Chokecherry Jelly is one of the sweetest “Tastes of White Earth”!


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