I get excited about a lot of things in life- like my first batch of homemade lard soap turning out awesome, finding a new product to keep deer away from our apple trees, or discovering Aronia berries… and even better, discovering that I can grow them myself. I love when I can grow things myself!
These berries are becoming popular because of their incredible nutrient content. They certainly aren’t popular because of their taste! Sorry Aronias, but the truth hurts. These berries are perfect for making gelatin squares or “gummies” because when mixed with strawberries and raw honey they taste great… and just look at that color!
This is a fruit that you want because you are a nutrient-seeker, because you try to eat the healthiest foods possible, and because you like to grow interesting things. <– All ME!! With very little sugar and more antioxidants and anythocyanins than other “super fruit” berries, these are the super-est of the super fruits!
Aronia berries aren’t great on their own, but when lightly sweetened or mixed with other things, they come alive with deep rich berry taste and incredible color! You can find them in most natural food stores and online. But if you have the room, I would highly recommend you grow your own Aronia bush. They have spectacular fall color… and they are pretty much producing vitamins for you- this is a great fruiting bush to plant!
I figured this plant was some kind of tropical wonder that would never stand a chance here in my Zone 4 Wisconsin winter… not true at all, these babies are hardy to Zone 3! Scroll down towards the bottom to see how to grow your own Aronia bush!
What do Aronia Berries Taste Like?
They are slightly tart, and with barely any of their own natural sugar, they are best suited for something that is sweetened, or paired with other fruit. Really, they don’t taste like much at all. They would be perfect for a smoothie, and I bet they would make an interesting honey-sweetened fruit leather!
I tried one and thought it was fine. Karl put one in his mouth, made the sourest of faces, started chewing with immense trepidation and then gave me his most displeased look. He’s always a bit melodramatic when I make him eat new things (which happens a lot!).
The texture of this berry is a little different- there is no pop of juice like a raspberry would have, and the center is sort of… thick, not fibrous, but toothsome. Dense, maybe? Denser than other berries. Like a dense blueberry, that’s it! I’d say they are pleasant, but not something I’d want to sit down and eat a whole pint of in one sitting. Best used in every other way except eating plain.
It helps if you think of them as little spheres of vitamins.
Aronia berries are available in many natural food stores- you’ll find them in the freezer section. They are more expensive than other berries, but you’ll use them sparingly, so a small bag will last you a while.
There are some other cool Aronia products available too! You could make any of these products yourself, or if your bush isn’t producing any berries yet, you can purchase them:
Aronia Juice – use for drinking, adding to smoothies
Dried Aronia Berries – for eating, adding to trail mixes, brewing into tea
Aronia Powder – add to smoothies or use as a natural dye for frosting
Aronia Gummy Chews – I’ve had these and they are very good! These would make a great treat/fruit snack alternative for kids! Yes they are a candy, but they are also full of nutrients.
Aronia & Strawberry Gelatin Squares “Gummies”
What is a gummie? A cross between a fruit snack and a Jello jiggler. Kind of like Jello squares made out of a smoothie- and full of good stuff!
Step 1: Bloom the gelatin. If you’ve never worked with gelatin like this before, the best way to get it do what you want is to “bloom” it in liquid before adding it to your recipe. I placed my berries in a pot with a cover and heated them for a couple minutes until they started to give up their juice, then I poured about 1/4 cup of this juice into a little bowl and added the powdered gelatin to it. The gelatin will hydrate and then be ready to use.
Alternately, if you have apple or orange juice on hand, you can add the powdered gelatin to 1/4 cup of juice, if you’d like.
Prepare a small pan by very lightly greasing it with a fat or oil of your choice. I love using these small rectangular pyrex dishes for things like this, because they have a cover and I can pop them right into the fridge.
Place your berries in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until softened and cooked-looking. Yes- I freeze my strawberries with the tops on! It’s extra nutrients and I am almost always using them for blended things, so the greens disappear into whatever I am making.
Put the bloomed gelatin into a blender (preferred) or food processor, pour the hot berries over top, and then add the honey on top of the berries. Blend on low speed for one minute until everything is well-combined, and then blend at a higher speed until the berries are fully pulverized.
Immediately pour the mixture into your prepared pan. I like to let it set-up on the counter for 30 minutes before moving it to the fridge, otherwise I tend to slosh and spill it all over. Allow it to cool in the fridge for at least an hour and then cut and eat!
How to Grow an Aronia Berry Bush
Fun Facts About Aronias
Also knows as a Chokeberry Bush
One Aronia bush can produce over 30 pounds of fruit in one year
Highly disease and pest resitant
Beautiful foliage (especially in fall) makes this a great landscaping plant
Fruit grows in easy-to-harvest clusters
Not as picky about soil as say, blueberries are
Aronia Plant Specs
Suited for zones 3-8
Can tolerate some shade
Will grow around 6-feet tall, possibly a little bigger and similarly wide
Self-fertile, meaning you only need one plant
To Plant an Aronia Bush
Select your plant- great if you can find one at a local nursery, if not, find one HERE!
I also like Burnt Ridge Nursery for unusual and unique edibles!
If you have a choice, Aronias prefer a slightly acidic soil.
- Dig a hole one and one-half times larger than the pot/soil your plant came with.
- Remove from the pot and gently rough up the soil and free the root ball a little with your hand.
- Place the root ball in the hole and fill the hole back with dirt; add in some fertilizer if you wish.
- Tamp down the dirt (step on it) around the plant gently.
- Thoroughly water. Water every other day if weather is dry or no rain.
- Go the extra mile by adding a layer of mulch around the tree, keeping it away from the trunk a couple inches.
Let it grow… and in a couple years you’ll be harvesting baskets full of homegrown, nutrient-filled Aronia berries!
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