When ripe (in late August or September), the berries are wonderful in smoothies, juices, jams, jellies, compote, sauces, and fruit leather. The deep rich purple adds a deep red color and delicious flavor to yogurt and wine. When dried or freeze-dried, the berries lose much of their tartness, and are excellent in cereal and trail mix or toppers for salads.
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A relative of the apple family, Aronia melanocarpa (or chokeberry) is native to Iowa and Nebraska and will grow up to 13 feet tall. This glossy bush and its dark berry is naturally resistant to many insect and disease pests.
The Aronia berry is a dark purple to black berry, about the size and shape of a blueberry. Aronia berries grow in clusters of up to about 20 berries each. They have outstanding nutritional and pharmacological properties which have been well documented. They contain high levels of anti-oxidants which research has shown to help in fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, and helping to reduce blood glucose in diabetics.