The chokeberry is a small bay that is astringent and a little sour raw. (we also called aronia in English, in reference to the birds supposed to choke after ingestion of these berries). This said, the berries of chokeberry, once cooked, are sweet and have a powerful flavor close to cassis. These berries can be used to make juices, jams, and are sometimes used as an accompaniment to savory dishes, such as cranberries, cranberries or gooseberry.
These berries have a high vitamin C content, and are used as a dye food.
History of chokeberry
The chokeberry was introduced in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Asia and Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. The Russian botanist Ivan Michurine has produced many cultivars around 1950, which contributed to its diffusion.
It seems that aronia arbutifolia has initiated a discreet colonization but extended to the french territory since the 1980 – 1990 at the point to be considered as invasive.
Aronia berries were eaten by Native Americans for medicinal use.
The antioxidant power of the aronias surpasses those of other small fruits. It has been compared to more than 300 foods by the U.S. Department of agriculture.
A small garden shrub, the aronia offers flamboyant foliage and berries with medicinal properties throughout the fall. For the pleasure of the eyes and the taste buds ….
The chokeberry: a “superfruit” for a “superhealth”!
The chokeberry is a shrub native to North America.
There are two types: red aronia, rather sweet and black, more bitter. Both contain so much benefit. Indeed, the aronia is rich in antioxidants.
It contains flavonoids, responsible for the colour of aronia, as well as tannins, anthocyanins and phenolic atif.
The bay that prevents cardiovascular disease and cancer
The antioxidants contained in the aronia allow to avoid oxidative stress.
The latter increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In particular, the researchers have updated that blood pressure and LDL cholesterol are falling through these antioxidants.
A study published in 2002 shows that by giving 200 ml of aronia juice to diabetics daily for 3 months, blood glucose was falling.
Another study dating from 2010, proves, that aronia is effective in the treatment of metabolic syndrome that causes hypertension, high cholesterol, overweight and inflammation.
The chokeberry: other health benefits
It also has other virtues. For example, its consequent flavonoid content makes it possible to better filter ultraviolet rays and more effectively protect macular degeneration.
The latter, often present in the elderly, causes a gradual loss of sight.
For those who want to lose weight, the bay is also advisable. It has a low calorie rate and prevents the body from storing too much fat, especially at the belly level.
Aronia is also recommended for stomach, intestine and liver disorders. Finally, it is used to strengthen the immune system.
Chokeberry: for its flowers, its fruits and its leaves
The aronia is a small shrub (between 1.5 and 2.5 m) that comes from Eastern Americas. The genus, which belongs to the Rosaceae family, comprises three species: Aronia melanocarpa, Aronia Arbutifolia and Aronia Prunifolia, a natural hybrid between Aronia melanocarpa and Aronia Arbutifolia.
With a more or less open port, the trunk is branches very quickly to spread over 2 or 3 meters. The deciduous leaves are lanceolate and their margins are finely toothed. Bright green color more or less dark in the spring, they are red in the fall (flamboyant red for Aronia arbutifolia; orange to purple red for Aronia melanocarpa and Aronia prunifolia).
The graceful little flowers are reminiscent of those of their cousins, apple trees, cherry trees, brambles and other Rosaceae. Gathered in Corymbs at the end of the twigs, they are pink or white; The flowering, relatively short (one month), starts according to the climates and the varieties around April and ends, for the late, in July.
At the end of the summer, place aux fruits: small drupes round, shiny and black for Aronia melanocarpa and Aronia Prunifolia, red for Aronia Arbutifolia. They are very popular with birds and are also edible for humans. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, they are to be consumed fresh, juiced, jam or compote.
Uses of chokeberry in the garden
The chokeberries are shrubs that find place in small gardens as in the larger ones. They can be planted in the middle of a free hedge or in an isolated subject, and they can also incorporate a floral massif (associated with an azalea or a sarcococca) or be planted in groups (4 of the same variety).
Although this does not give him any additional comfort, the aronia can grow potted. This can be interesting for those who do not have land and who want to enjoy the benefits of the fruits and the beauty of the foliage.
Culture and size of the chokeberry
The acclimatization of the chokeberry in Russia, around 1900, demonstrated its high resistance to cold and its ability to be grown under extreme conditions. Opt for a sunny or half-shaded exposure. As for the nature of the soil, it is very tolerant, but prefers the rather acidic land.
Plant the chokeberry in the fall. In the early years, be careful that it does not suffer from drought; Do not hesitate to water it and to mulch the foot. In the summer you can put a net, to protect from the appetite of the birds the future harvest of the drupes. Size is not necessary At the end of the winter, simply remove the poorly oriented, sick or dead twigs.
The chokeberry: its various uses
Chokeberry is generally used as a natural dye or as a condiment. Its very sweet and slightly tart taste brings a subtle flavour to the dishes, quite close to that of blackcurrant.
It accompanies the salty preparations, as well as cranberries, and even more famous cranberries.
It can be consumed fresh, dried, jam or juiced. Or even mixed with other fruits.
This diuretic regulates the immune system, the sugar level and the fat in the blood.
Where to find berries?
It is now available in the form of organic juice. You can also find dried berries or tea flavoured with aronia acerola.
These products are often available via the Internet, the product being more confidential in store. But the trend is changing. An evolution to follow.
The conservation of the chokeberry
The aronies keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Make jams or juices using a juice extractor by adding sugar or mixing with apples or grapes to soften the taste. Fruits can also dry, freeze, prepare for pie, sauce …