Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Black Chokeberry

Aronia melanocarpa

The name, Chokeberry, might suggest you should leave this plant alone but in fact there’s no need! I happily stumbled upon this plump little berry in mid August and glad I did. The dark purple, almost black clusters of fruit hang on a stout deciduous shrub. Showy white flowers bloom in May, following the antioxidant-rich berries in late summer. Oh, did I mention the tartness? These berries are so very tart and bitter tasting, one may “choke” by accident while sampling.


Aside from being rich in vitamin C, these berries are known to offer a range of health benefits related to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is when DNA-damaging free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to neutralize them. Chokeberries provide a powerful antioxidant that knocks out these free radicals. Not to mention her antioxidant capacity outweighs that of Elderberry and Wild Blueberry!


Keep in mind the research is spotty and the general public just isn’t that interested in a super tart berry…yet!

What’s not to love about this tart little berry?

  • Can be grown easily in your yard

  • Easy to pick

  • One shrub offers plenty of fruit

  • Delicious when sweetened

  • Becomes sweeter when frozen

  • Blends well with other berries and fruit such as cherries, strawberries, peaches, pears, and so on

  • Few pests bother it

  • Good for the body and soul

What to do with her beautiful berries once you meet them?

  • Jam

  • Jelly

  • Pie

  • Syrup/Sauce

  • Add to desserts – cookies, bars, bread

  • Smoothies

  • See a trend? Sweeteners. You may want to add some sweetness to tone down that tartness

  • Look and enjoy this beautiful plant

  • Decide to plant one in your yard

I happen to gather a small amount, leaving enough for the birds but just enough for me. I didn’t have enough for jam, jelly, pie, and so on but I did have enough to dehydrate.  I placed a handful or two in my dehydrator at 135 degrees F for about a day and a half.  The berries are most definitely still bitter tasting, which I personally enjoy. I plan to save them for the winter months when we may need an extra boost of vitamin C!


What a wonderful treat!


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