Today I got a chance to try some chokecherries Thoreau style--dead, ripe, and a little wilted. I've recently been reading "The Forager's Harvest" by Samuel Thayer, which is an amazing book on wild foods, highly recommended, and in it the author extols the virtues of chokecherries. He says he regularly eats chokecherries fresh off the bush and like to make chokecherry fruit leather without any sugar. I read that and shook my head, thinking, "Chokecherries without any sugar? I am not that hardcore."
But today I got brave. Mr. Thayer writes, "The puckering mouth that [chokecherries] induce is a sensation, not a flavor. If you can learn to not let it scare you off you will be free to discover that the flavor behind the pucker is really pretty darn good." We've had a few light frosts recently, and I've read elsewhere that winemakers will wait until after a frost to harvest the grapes, because the cold sweetens the fruit, and I've also noticed that flowers, particularly sweet clover and tansy, smell sweeter after a frost.
So I picked a few chokecherries from a neighbor's bush on my way to the bus stop. The fruit was soft, and more purple than black now, and it really did taste sweet, with a sugary flavor and gooey texture just like cherry jam. They do still fur the mouth, however.