4-5 cups of sand cherries (or other wild or non-sweet cherries) (leave the pits in)
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
3 limes (juiced)
In a saucepan on med-high heat, add the whole cherries and add just enough water to cover the cherries. Cook on a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl pour the whole saucepan full through the strainer to get cherry juice. You can squish the cherries a bit with a spatula in the strainer to get more juice out. Put the juice back into the saucepan and discard the cherry pits and solids. Add sugar, honey, salt, and lime juice, and cook on med-low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it cool and you're done.
Do you ever click on a recipe on Pinterest and then get annoyed when you have to scroll through the whole page of pretty pictures and lots of words to find the actual recipe? Me too. That's why I put the recipe at the top. In case you want to know more though... here's the rest of my blog post.
Last year we planted some Sand Cherry bushes in the yard. We ripped out the burning bushes previous owners had planted because we wanted to have more edible landscaping. My thinking is if I have to water them, I should at least be able to eat something in return. Sand cherries (Prunus besseyi) are native to the northern plains, so bonus for planting natives!
Here they are, growing happily in their second summer in our yard. They've survived two very severe drought years. We're in SW Nebraska. They are on the west-facing side of our garage. I got exactly 3 cherries in the very first year, but this year we got at least two quarts.
In the beginning of July the cherries look like this. I'd say even these are not quite ripe. They're quite black when they're totally ripe.
If you eat them raw they're quite bitter and sour. These are great for jams and sauces where you're adding sugar anyway.
I picked about 1 1/4 quarts (4 or 5 cups) off of the ripest bush.
To make the syrup, put the cherries in a saucepan on med-high heat with just enough water to cover them all.
Cook them down on a low boil for 15 minutes.
Strain them through a mesh strainer and keep all the rich purple juice. Discard the pits and fruit.
Cook the juice with the sugar, lime juice, salt, and honey for 10 minutes on med-low heat to create the syrup.