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Best use for aronia or choke berries?

 
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What is the best way to preserve aronia (choke berries)? Dry the berries or make ticture? I have only one bush.  Thank you,  Becky
 
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My understanding of aronia is that the severe astringency of them (thus the choke berry name) is due to the pulp of the berries.  This is why they are so often used for juice where that astringent pulp is removed.  If I were looking to preserve them I might be inclined to try juicing them and then boiling down the juice into a more concentrated form.  I will admit I haven't tried this myself though.
 
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You'll get a lot of berries off of one bush once they are mature.  I need more uses for them myself.  I love aronia jelly.  I have my first batch of aronia wine sitting in a carboy that I need to rack into bottles and try.  This year I'll probably have 10 gallons of berries to preserve and unless some good ideas pop up in this thread, I'll probably juice them somehow and freeze them.  Then I'll defrost a jar at a time, keep it in the fridge and use it to add healthiness to other berry concoctions.
 
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Becky - Welcome to Permies!  That's cool that you're growing aronia.  And are they growing in a food forest?  

We're happy to have you!  

P. S.  I know nothing about preserving aronia, or I would have tried to respond to your actual question.  
 
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I hear they are good in muffins and baked goods in general. Also, some cultivars are vastly sweeter than others.

One strategy a friend taught me is to use fruit like aronia and bosc pear as the filler in pie (since they're not very flavorful). Then use other fruit to provide flavor (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, currants, more flavorful pears and apples)
 
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We have lots of these every year and they are a mainstay in preserves sweetened with plum or apple cider.

I also have them mixed into the vinegar we make and they are great!
 
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It sounds like juicing/filtering, then adding sugar is the starting point, followed by one of the following
1) Boiling to turn it into a syrup/jelly
2) Fermenting it to alcohol
3) Fermenting it to vinegar
4) Fermenting it to aronia kefir soda
5) Freezing it for months
6) Chilling it for a few days

A mixture with a high alcohol content can also be used to preserve it too, either completely fresh or first reduced by boiling.

Dehydration and then rehydrating as they are added to salads, baked goods, pancake, a bit in some beetroot soup.

Maybe make a fruit leather?
Like lime or ginger this will need other fruits and or sugar in the mix to be consumed in bulk
 
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I sure would like to give you the harvest from my four bushes.  I'm too lazy or too busy to deal with them after taking a stab making something with them last year. Even the birds won't touch them.  Pretty bushes, though.  I planted them in a period when I was laying out my garden/orchard using a lot of unusual plants I learned about here and elsewhere such as honey berries and goji and hardy kiwi. The aronia and goji make the cut, but certainly not for palatability.
 
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I juiced my choke cherries in a steam juicer and made juice that I turned into shrub...yum yum.  When I’m felling like it I add a shot of vodka and sparkling water or tonic.
 
pollinator
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Bill Kansan wrote: Even the birds won't touch them.  



This fact alone makes them rise to the top of the list of my favorite berries on the property.  The Juneberries typically are cleaned out by the waxwings and robins in short order, even when still pre-ripe.  But the Aronias just sit there happy as can be until harvest time.  They are most suited for jams or items which are sugared, but a great berry for our region.
 
Mike Haasl
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Janet, did you mean choke berries?  This thread is about choke berries (aronia), not choke cherries.  
 
pollinator
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You're right about the taste being nasty, until they're cooked. We steam juice them and bottle the juice, later serving it "watered down" with apple cider or pear juice. We dehydrate the leftover berry pulp from steam juicing, still quite intact as individual fruits. The dried berries are good added into baked goods. Birds don't mess with aronia berries, other than the occasional robin sampling early ripening fruits, after which they leave them alone. But Japanese beetles will eat the leaves.
 
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Ok I have tons of aronia berries,they are terrific producers. I have only dried them in the past. This year I will do tha again except i will make an oxymel with two pint jars half full of berries. The top half will be 3/4 honey and one quarter apple cider vinegar. Mixed thoroughly and left to its own devices for a month, then strained and into the fridge. Aronia are really high in antioxidants so 1 tablespoon every morning. My first time so will see how it turns out. By the way I have some connoisseurs robins that try to beat me to the harvest every year.
 
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