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Wild Chokecherry

Originally written by Kimberly Cripps , former SDSU Extension Family & Community Health Field Specialist, with contributions by Megan Erickson, former SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist, and Hope Kleine, former SDSU Extension Health Education Field Specialist.

Pick it!

  • Ripe chokecherries are black, ¼ to ½ inch round and grow in clusters similar to grapes.
  • Look for chokecherries that grow wild in areas that have not been sprayed with pesticides.
  • Choose the best cherries and clean them in fresh water removing leaves and stems.
  • Refrigerate to keep cool or freeze fresh for later.

Try it!

  • Snack by eating raw, spitting out the seeds, do not eat too much or it can clog your throat and stick in your teeth. Your teeth will be blue for a little while!
  • Boil chokecherries and remove seeds to make a pudding or syrup.
  • Remove seeds and use fresh in muffin or pancake batter.
  • Finely grind chokecherries, including seeds, to make patties to dry in the sun to preserve for later use.
  • Use the leaves to make a soothing tea.

Like it! Wild Chokecherry Pudding


  • 2 quarts of chokecherries
  • 1 gallon of water in a large pot to boil the chokecherries
  • Sweetener to taste


  1. Wash and de-stem the chokecherries.
  2. Add chokecherries to water and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Stir occasionally.
  3. Boil until seeds fall out.
  4. Use a colander to separate the seeds keeping the pulp with the juice.
  5. Add flour or corn starch to pulp/juice mixture.
  6. Heat slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness.
  7. Add sugar or other sweetener as desired. Serve hot.

Source: This is an adapted version of the traditional wojapi made by the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota people of the Plains.

Program Materials

Colorful fact sheets, recipe cards and educational videos provide educators and families with fun, engaging tools to enhance any dietary curriculum in a variety of settings.

Quick resources are available in the fact sheets below. Download the zipped folder to use the lesson plan, sampling instructions, recipes and display materials in your educational program.