Aronia Berry (Chokeberry)
What is aronia berry
Aronia berry, also known as chokeberry, is the berry-like fruit of the plants belonging to the Aronia genus. Based on different species of the chokeberry plant, it is classified into black chokeberry, red chokeberry, and purple chokeberry. Commonly used in wine-making and baked goods, the edible berries are quite popular throughout the world, often known as just ‘aronia’ in countries like France, Spain, Germany, and Russia.
Table Of Content
Chokeberry is a pome similar to apple or pear found in thick clusters, having a thick, fleshy exterior layer with a central core comprising of seed chambers.
Black chokeberry: It measures about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in diameter, appearing black and glossy with a smooth texture, containing 1-5 seeds and has a bitter flavor. Each bunch may contain up to 30 berries.
Red chokeberry: It is 3/8 inch in diameter with a bright red color and hairy texture, having a sweet taste.
Purple chokeberry: It is a hybrid of the red chokeberry and black chokeberry that appears dark purple and has a diameter of 1/3 inch.
Given below is the nutritional value of 100g of black chokeberry:
|Dietary fiber||5.3 g||14%|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||35%|
|Vitamin A||214 IU||7%|
|Vitamin K||19.8 µg||17%|
|Vitamin E||1.17 mg||8%|
|Lutein Zeaxanthin||118 µg||–|
Effects on the immune system
In addition to containing antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin responsible for eradicating free radicals from the body, the fruit contains vitamin C. This nutrient is known to strengthen the immune system by promoting the production and function of white blood cells as well as helping in collagen synthesis for fighting against stomach and respiratory tract infections and repairing damaged tissues, respectively.
A high-fiber diet normalizes bowel movements by softening and bulking up stools. Being a good digestive aid, the dietary fiber-containing juicy berry helps in preventing digestive problems like constipation, bloating, and diarrhea.
Dietary fibers also aid in slowing down glucose absorption by not undergoing digestion themselves, helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. While eating aronia berry is effective for managing diabetes, incorporating it into your regular diet might also help in preventing the condition.
Along with the antioxidants and dietary fibers, the potassium in the fruit might aid in regulating the cholesterol levels as well as controlling blood pressure by acting as a vasodilator, curbing the risk of major cardiac ailments.
Effects on the brain
As several research studies have shown that anthocyanins play an active role in minimizing oxidative stress on the brain and improving motor and cognitive function as well, regular intake of aronia berry might help in reducing the risks of common neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Beneficial for the eyes
Its carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect the eyes from UV rays, lowering the risk of cataract and macular degeneration, the common causes of age-related vision loss.
The antioxidants in the berries are believed to prevent skin aging symptoms such as wrinkles and dark spots. Additionally, its astringent effects might help in strengthening the skin, keeping it soft, and glowing.
In addition to being low in fats and calories, its dietary fibers play a role in maintaining a healthy weight.
Consumption of aronia berry has been shown to aid in the management of metabolic syndrome by maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. According to some studies, the anthocyanins in the berry might even be useful in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
- Ripe fruits can be eaten raw
- The fresh berries are one of the popular choices for preparing syrup, jam, juice, and wine. Aronia syrup is a common ingredient in various cuisines.
- Dried chokeberries make a good nutritious snack when eaten alone or can be mixed with muesli for breakfast. Besides being used in baby foods and confectionary items such as muffins, cakes, candies, they can be brewed as an herbal tea.
- It is used in chili starters, salsa, fruit salads and soft spreads.
- The fruit is used as flavoring or coloring agent in yogurts, fruit drinks, and ice creams
Aronia berry is also a common ingredient in several skincare products and anti-dandruff shampoos.
How to eat
The freshly-picked aronia berries have a thin, whitish waxy coat. Before eating, wash the berries by gently swishing them in a bowl filled with cold water for a couple of minutes to remove any debris. Mop dry with a soft cloth carefully to prevent the fruits from getting damaged. As the fruits gradually come back to the room temperature, their flavor and taste become better. Make sure to remove the seeds.
- Aronia oatmeal cookies
- Chokeberry coconut smoothie
- Crisp and buttery einkorn waffles with aronia berries
- Chokeberry bread
- Aronia apple pudding cake
- Chokeberry muffins
- Aronia black bean chili
- Aronia Berry Pie
Black chokeberry can be replaced with blueberry as it has a similar taste and is also as good a source of antioxidants.
Can aronia berry be bad for you
Although the healthy berry does not cause any side effects, excess intake can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort. However, its oxalic acid content may affect the absorption of magnesium and calcium and also cause the formation of oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some cases. Therefore, those with a history of urinary tract stones should limit its consumption and drink enough water for regulating the urine flow.
As the safety of the berry during pregnancy has not been determined in any concrete studies, it should be avoided by expectant women, as well as breastfeeding mothers.
Where to buy
The fresh juicy berries can be purchased from any local marketplace or fruit-selling store. You can also buy dried or canned chokeberries either online or from a supermarket. Select berries that are fresh, round, and glossy with a uniform texture. The wet ones with spots must be removed to avoid the growth of mold in the fresh berries.
How to store
The berries stay fresh when kept in the refrigerator for a week.
- The name “chokeberry” is derived from its astringent properties that cause a puckering sensation in the mouth.
- Red chokeberries ripen in fall and stay till winter whereas black chokeberries mature in late summer, falling off by winter.
- by Madhulima Acharya
- December 31st 2015