Do not get confused by this blueberry doppelgänger. It is a completely different fruit!
For a limited time your Mackenthun’s Waconia location has aronia berries available for $5.99 per package.
What are Aronia Berries?
Aronia berries are also known as “chokeberries”.
They are a native species to North America and can especially be found all over Minnesota in the wild!
Aronia berries are a member of the Rosaceae family which also include apples, pears, apricots, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. They look like blueberries; however, blueberries are not related to aronia berries, nor do they taste alike.
The flavor of aronia berries are quite tart and have dry earthy tones. If eaten just like any other berry, it takes so much moisture away from your mouth that you wished you had more water to drink. The dryness is due to a chemical called tannins; tannins are also the same chemical found in dry wines and other alcoholic beverages, as well as teas and coffee.
The Indigenous People of North America have used aronia berries as a remedy to treat the common cold due to the amount of antioxidant properties to support the immune system. Compared to other berries (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry), research has found that aronia berries contain the most antioxidants per serving. In addition, a study reviewed aronia berry extracts infused in test tubes with blood from 30 healthy persons found aronia berry antioxidants significantly reduced stress and inflammation caused by antipsychotic medications within 24 hours! The kinds of antioxidants that are high in aronia berries are – phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavanols.
Most of the immune system, especially defenders of the immune system, are located in the gut. This is one of the easiest way for harmful bacteria to enter into our blood system. A 3-month study observing residents across six nursing homes who have reoccurring history of urinary tract infections found drinking 3 ounces of aronia berry juice a day reduced urinary tract infection episodes by 38% while a serving of 5 ounces a day reduced urinary tract infections by 55%. Further investigation of the aronia berry juice in test tubes found its antioxidants weakened the cell membrane of E. coli and Bacillus cereus, improving the white blood cell’s activity to eradicate the bacterial infection.
In regards to heart health, a 2-month study on 25 people with high triglycerides and cholesterol all seen dramatic improvements in those levels from eating 3 cups of aronia berries daily.
How to Store and Use Aronia Berries
Due to its tart flavor and dryness, aronia berries are best used for syrups, jams, jellies, baked goods, sauces, teas, and wine; however, there is nothing wrong with eating them straight up if you do not mind tartness and a dry mouth.
Aronia berries can be kept out of refrigeration up to four days or in refrigeration up to two weeks. If frozen, they can maintain quality up to three months, however, compared to other fruits, the antioxidant potency of aronia berries start to weaken.
To maintain the antioxidant properties of aronia berries, it is best to refrigerate them and turn them into syrups, jams, teas, and wine.
Aronia Berry Banana Bread
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 cup All purpose flour
- 1 cup Whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/3 cup Butter, softened
- 1/2 cup Aronia berries
- 3 med Bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (about 20)
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease bread pan.
- Mix all ingredients except the berries, until well blended.
- Fold in the berries, being careful not to crush them.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and top with slivered almonds.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan.