tasty aronia??

lostman(z7a/b GA)June 18, 2003

Has anyone had a tasty crop of aronia?

I had bought 6 bushes from Raintree about 3 years ago. The past year I would get 2-5 berries that tasted like a bitter coffee bean at its most ripe. I thought I woudl give it anouther year, This year, I have plenty of berries that are just turning color. The chipmunk seems to like them, but so far they havent pleased me.

Am I doing something wrong, or should I just trash them?

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They are most often used processed (with LOTS of sugar). We have 3 viking bushes that are quite loaded but the berries are still green.

Only fruit being picked here are red currants, blueberries, and strawberries.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2003 at 2:54PM
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cambse(8 - Renton WA)

They make a great tasting jelly.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2003 at 5:09PM
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I've only had occasion to sample them once, and like yourself, I was not exactly overcome with the flavor. Maybe they call them 'chokeberry' for a reason.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2003 at 12:53PM
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lostman(z7a/b GA)

Hmmm. I guess I will start looking for something else to put in that space. I was never much of a jelly/jam person.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2003 at 9:42AM
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aronia juice is often blended with other juices (e.g. apple).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2003 at 10:10AM
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msgirl22(7b Atlanta)

Hi lostman,

Your Aronia plant tastes the way it does because the fruits are naturally low in sugar and acid but high in tannins (by proportion).
The tannins are what make fresh berries so bitter tasting (moreso than Cabernet Sauvignon grapes because of the lack of sugar).

People ususally use the juice of the berries to flavor other things, for example, you can mix the aronia juice with apple juice (a high sugar content fruit) to create a new combination much like the Cranberry-Apple drinks at the store.

With natural juice combinations, I would imagine that combining high sugar and/or acid foods like citrus, apple, carrot, beet, etc. will make the better combinations with aronia berries.

Another thing to do is to make a flavored simple syrup (containing water, sugar and the juice of the berries) and use that to flavor sparkling water or sweetened sodas.

I haven't done it, but I know you can make wine with them. Since they're low in acid I'd guess you'd need to add some in the fermenting liquid.

Unfortunately if your looking for fresh eating berries, you'll be disappointed with your Aronia. I've never had to protect my Aronias from the birds. Even they won't eat them since they've got a host of other, sweeter, berries to choose from in the yard.

I've taken to mine though. When they turned 5 (since planting) they became uberproducers and literally made quarts of berries. I freeze mine and then juice them to add to jellies, gelatins, sweet and savory sauces, beverages, and syrups.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 12:13AM
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lostman(z7a/b GA)

Thanx MSgirl22,

This makes things a little clearer. I was just about to replace them with something else, but I may give your suggestion a try. They might make a nice spice.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 9:01PM
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I didn't find them disgusting, just not especially tasty. I've not seen 'em in their fall regalia, except in photos, but if I recall correctly, they have terrific red fall color.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 10:03AM
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lostman(z7a/b GA)

They tend to poop-out here before that. Some leaves are turning red already. Maybe it doesnt like a long growing season...or maybe I need to take care of them.

It look like I dont need to worry about the fruit this time. I went out side to pick some the other day and they are all gone! I suspect the chipmunks.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2003 at 8:04AM
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nurblet(z5/6 Upstate NY)

Hi--thanks for all your info about aronias. i had ordered 2 from Raintree--I know they "rave" about them, but I always read the berries themselves were bitter. I'll do some experimenting when they start to produce berries.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 8:19AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I just tasted some of the black really ripe fruits on my Aronia and they do have a bitter aftertaste. Not something one would be growing to eat fresh. I wonder how they would taste fresh with some sugar. Still, they weren't as hideous as I expected from reading about them.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 3:02PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

The deer stripped my aronias this year. As for a tasty shrub fruit to eat fresh, I think blueberries rule. I usually made gelatin from my aronias, cook, add sugar to taste, soften unflavored gelatin in some water, add berries, or run through a blender/strainer or food mill to remove seeds and skins and add juice. Add almond extract for extra flavor.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2003 at 3:47PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

The Cultivar 'Nero' of Black Chokebery (Aronia) is supposed to be one developed for larger fruits than the common Black Aronia. Anyone have any experience with this Cultivar and know if it is true or not worth the effort?

Also anyone have both red and black aronia and compaired the difference in taste?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 1:41PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Well, I ordered some Nero for planting this Fall. Probably going to be too small to flower next year but we will see.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 12:34PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I got 27 seedling 'Nero' Aronia from Oikos Tree Crops. I ordered 25 because they are cheap at the 25 lot price and they sent me 27. They are about 12 inches, most just one stem but afew with two stems to start the shrub branching. I decided to plant the seven by by patio as doubles (two in one hole) so that they make shrubs sooner. So these will be seven out of 27. So I added either 27 of the 'Nero' Aronia or 20 to my landscape, depending on how you want to count the way they are planted.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2003 at 4:29PM
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lukifell(zone5 NH)

Aronia is native to New England. There is a reason why this plant is grown in Russia. It likes the cold. If you live down south don't plant this shrub.

Aronia has a unique history. It was introduced into Europe as a novelty plant, much like every other American plant.

For some reason the Europeans liked it so much they decided it should be a commercial crop. So they bred it for improved production and started to grow it the way Americans grow blueberries.

Now it's one of those "exotic " flavors found in the expensive drinks section of your supermarket.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2004 at 9:50PM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

I have a Juiceman-type juicer (i.e., one that grinds up the raw fruit and extracts the juice from the pulp by centrifugal force). I can juice apples or oranges without removing the seeds, but I have to remove the pits from cherries or peaches before juicing them.

Are aronia seeds barely noticeable (like blueberry or strawberry seeds) -- or are they larger but fairly soft (like apple or orange seeds), so that you could cut them in half with a knife -- or are they really hard (like cherry or mango seeds), so that you'd have to remove them before you could slice through the fruit?

Any berries that fall into the first two categories would be easy to juice in a grinder-type juicer, but any in the third category would be too much of a nuisance for me to consider juicing them that way. I'd be very grateful for any info on aronia seeds.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2004 at 12:22PM
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I think you would be able to use your juicer, as the seeds are small. I have a small bush that I planted several years ago. It seems to be slow growing, but maybe it's because I haven't been very good about keeping the weeds away from it, and it also might need more fertilizer. It does get lots of berries on it, though. Although the berries aren't particularly tasty, they aren't that bad, either.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2004 at 10:32AM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Thanks! As long as the seeds aren't tooth-breakers, they should work fine.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2004 at 4:36PM
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The seeds are small, like in blueberries, currants or gooseberries. I tried them in muffins once, and they weren't too bad that way.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 1:16PM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Maybe I'll try aronia cobbler too -- with the same amount of sugar as a green-gooseberry cobbler.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2004 at 7:21PM
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oklahawg(NE OK z6-7)

Aronia question: what is its heat hardiness? Or, what is its sun tolerance in the south? I seem to remember relatives talking about it by its common name, chokeberry. Finally, is it prone to runners?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2004 at 9:31PM
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I've seen it planted in full sun, with pea gravel 'mulch', as part of the landscaping at a putt-putt golf course in Nicholasville(Lexington area) KY, and it seemed to be quite happy there, so I would suspect that full sun in good soil in your zone 6/7 setting wouldn't upset it too much.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 10:36AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

My baby Nero Aronia all grew like gangbusters this past year. I am hoping they might even be big enough to bloom some this coming spring so I can see if there is any taste difference with my other Aronia shrubs.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 12:21PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

My Aronias are Vikings. I had a bumper crop this year and froze them in ziplock bags. I just had some made into gelatin and I think they are excellent. Whatever doesn't taste that good seems to strain out with the skins and seeds. I haven't seen or tasted Nero Aronia fruit.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 9:56PM
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lostman(z7a/b GA)

The bitternes does seem to be inthe skins and seeds, though my fruit doesent seem to make much juice. I did some jam using a food mill. It was horrid! But I recently had some jelly that was quite good.

As a side note the horrid jam, actually went pretty well with a large dab of peanut butter on a cracker. I have never been a P&J person because most jelly/jams are to sweet, but the smoky bitterness, of the aronia, got me hook.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 9:39AM
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I like them dried - like most fruit, they taste sweeter when dried and I then use them after rehydrated together with other dried fruit (cherry, blueberries, amelanchier, apples, plums, redcurrants, gooseberies etc.) on muesli, granola etc. They can be stored a long time too when dried - so a crop from a bumper year can last 2-3 years.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 5:51PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

That's interesting, Stevil. I'll have to try drying some this year. I think they are a very good backyard fruit. Sure beats my total lack of crop from sea berries, black haw, and other things I have tried, and easier to pick than black currants because of the big clusters of berries.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 3:53PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I had an interesting visit to a Polish market recently. The owner proudly gave me a tour of his store and pointed out the Polish aronia fruit syrups, juices, and teas. The owner explained that aronia tea which is made of dried berries is effective for lowering blood pressure. His wife drank several mugs of aronia tea per day and ended up in the hospital with dangerously low blood pressure. So aronia tea must be drunk in moderation. I tasted the aronia tea and I liked it. I promised the owner that I would bring aronia fruit to his shop this summer. He recently brought over aronia bushes from his native Poland to plant in his back yard. I am really wondering if Polish aronia tastes better than the aronia I purchased from Raintree Nurseries.



    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 6:18PM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

I like the juice - mixed with a sweeter one is a good idea. I had some in my fridge so long it fermented - now it's a very lively looking applejack - tinted with Aronia color and flavor. Think I'll mix it with fresh lime over ice, and have a party!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 8:01PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Just because Aronia is native to New England doesn't necessarily mean you can't grow it in the South. I believe that they extend much further to the south than New England as native plants.

Anyway, I have one that fruits here, right next to the house. It is on the north side of the house in our hot-summer climate, where it probably didn't det a tremendous amount of winter chill. It gets a little summer sun.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 8:51PM
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This is great! I just joined GardenWeb and just read all of these wonderful replies.

I'm considering growing the crop myself and am noticing how dated the last responses to this topic are - is anyone still growing aronia? I haven't found any mainstream distributors/products with the berry aside from "ARo"

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 7:56PM
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I have 1 Viking, produces well. Not a lot of fruit flavor, but extreme amounts of blue pigments and tannins, good for blending juice, or as tannin source for wine mash. Took forever to extract all the goodies by repeated boilings -- suspect soaking, then freezing, then boiling, would be faster. Rare apple-cedar rust attack on individual berries, but much more resistant than is serviceberry. (Here in NJ serviceberry loss to rust (untreated) is 5-80%, depends on climate, etc.)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:07PM
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I grow McKenzie and Viking aronias which are very productive. They are disease and pest free here in Kansas with the exception of some rabbits that trimmed them. The aronia took 3 years to produce a crop. As noted above they are a blending berry to be mixed with apple juice etc. You might enjoy this article from USA Today that likens the aronia berry industry to the cranberry industry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aronia Berry

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:56AM
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Not 100% sure, but think the black chokeberry/aronia is native to middle GA where I am. The trees are pretty in bloom, but I rarely see the fruit. They seem to form small colonies and rarely get over 10' tall. Mine are in too much shade and I need to correct that. I MAY've misidentified them, though.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 11:45AM
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