Aronia Berries

About Aronia

Also commonly referred to as chokecherry, aronia (Aronia melanocarpa) hails from the Rosaceae family of plants, a family that includes many important edible and ornamental crops such as apples, plums, roses, and almonds. Resistant to drought, insects, and disease, aronia is a hearty plant with cold tolerance of -40° F, or zone 3. The deciduous shrubs produce dark purple, nearly black berries as a result of their high anthocyanin content – a factor which also contributes to the extraordinarily high antioxidant content in aronia berries.

Aronia Berries
At Blue Fruit, we grow 2 varieties of aronia: “Viking” and “Brilliant”, both of which were purchased as rootstock from Knight Hollow Nursery in Wisconsin. Both cultivars are self-fertile, meaning only one plant is needed to produce fruit. Typically grown as an ornamental shrub, the Brilliant cultivar is named for its spectacular fall foliage. We grow only a few of these plants, both for its ornamental value as well as for its potential to attract pollinators. Viking offers blueberry-sized fruits in late summer and makes up the bulk of the aronia grown at Blue Fruit Farm. These fruits are available fresh or processed into jelly and sauces, and can also be purchased through our friends at Hoch Orchards as an addition to their fall ciders.

Health Benefits

Aronia berries are at the top of the Oxygen radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) table, with nearly 3 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Yes, blueberries! They are exceptionally high in anocyanid content for urinary tract health, beating cranberries by at least 5 times. Its high tannin content is associated with cancer protection. It is a great source of anti-cancer flavonoids as well as promoting cardiac health, and is high in vitamin C.

Using Aronia

In addition to their multitude of health benefits, aronia berries are extremely versatile. Quite astringent when eaten fresh, aronia is often processed into jams, jellies, and juices. Berries can also be used in breads and baked goods instead of other dried fruits, and the tart flavor pairs wonderfully as a sauce for many types of meat. The color and tannins in aronia make it a good amendment to grape or elderberry wines, and dried skins of berries make for a delicious tea rich in antioxidants.

Beyond its culinary potential, aronia can also be utilized as a natural dyeing agent, turning fibers into an extraordinary shade of deep purple. The high antioxidant content makes aronia a valuable addition to soaps and lotions, and can also be processed into tinctures.