Last Updated on September 6, 2022
Wondering what to do with this year’s harvest of black chokeberries? Also known as aronia, these antioxidant-rich berries take a little know-how to enjoy properly. Here’s a collection of aronia berry recipes (aka chokeberry recipes) to help!
WHAT ARE ARONIA BERRIES?
Just to be clear, we’re talking about Aronia Melanocarpa, or black chokeberry, with a ‘b’ for berry. People often confuse them with the similar-sounding chokecherry, a different plant with different properties and preparations. I’ll be covering the difference between them soon. For now, here’s what you need to know about identifying black chokeberry.
Aronia berries are among the top superfoods you can find, one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, the dark pigment that also gives elderberries their color. Better still, they grow on a tough perennial shrub native to North America, so you can forage your superfood ingredients for free rather than buying pricey supplements or powders.
Though they’re being researched as nutriceuticals, aronia berries are not well known in the general population because, shall we say, they’re not the tastiest fruit around? Eaten right off the bush at the wrong time, they’re notoriously astringent, though gathering them early in the season can make them more palatable.
Aronia berries are usually cooked and sweetened or combined with other fruits to improve their flavor.
HARVESTING TIPS FOR ARONIA BERRIES / CHOKEBERRIES
Foraging expert Samuel Thayer advises collecting aronia berries in late summer for best flavor. Those left on the plant later into fall will be drier and more astringent. These berries are famous for making people pucker!
After you’ve correctly identified aronia, sample a few berries off the plant. If you’re too early, the berries may still be hard. If you wait a bit longer, they’ll have some give and be juicier. At this stage you may find them acceptable for fresh eating, though few people will enjoy munching more than a few at a time. Wait too long, and they’ll lose their sweetness and juiciness, though they’ll still be fine for making into syrups and jam.
You’ll see these pretty shrubs used as landscape plants all over, so keep your eyes peeled and you may find yourself with a nice haul of berries to try in a variety of aronia recipes.
If you don’t have aronia berries to forage but still want to get some chokeberry nutrition, you can buy aronia berries dried whole or powdered for adding to smoothies or making decoctions.
WHAT TO DO WITH ARONIA BERRIES / BLACK CHOKEBERRIES
- Bake in muffins or quickbreads
- Add to your favorite healthy smoothie recipe
- Combine with elderberries for an extra-potent elderberry syrup
- Supercharge your rhubarb sauce with last fall’s aronia harvest
- Juice with other fruits
- Add to homemade fruit leather
- Make jam
You could try subbing aronia berries in your favorite blueberry or juneberry recipe, but note that chokeberries typically have a much drier texture and far less natural sweetness. Check out some possibilities you can adapt in this collection of serviceberry recipes.
Or try them in some of these tasty aronia berry recipes!
I usually throw some in my go-to muffin and smoothie recipes, but after scouring the interwebs for aronia berry recipes, I found some really intriguing ones worth exploring. Check ’em out below.
ARONIA BERRY RECIPES / CHOKEBERRY RECIPES TO TRY THIS SEASON
Got a big pail full of chokeberries? Stock your freezer and then enjoy trying some of these creative aronia berry recipes from around the blogosphere.
♦ One of the easiest ways to use aronia berries (fresh, frozen, or dried) is in smoothies. Try this cranberry aronia smoothie from Smoothie Fairytales.
♦ Or try this aronia peach smoothie bowl from Superberries.
♦ Aronia berries can add flavor and nutrition to your rhubarb sauce. Since they’re ready at such different times of the season, you’ll need to use frozen rhubarb or frozen berries (or both). You can add a handful of berries to this simple rhubarb sauce recipe. Or try making this rhubarb aronia refrigerator jam recipe from American Aronia Berry.
♦ A multipurpose Native American recipe for wojapi sauce can include aronia berries and whatever other berries you have on hand. Check out the recipe from The Gingered Whisk.
♦ This fermented aronia chutney from Vomiting Chicken is an intriguing condiment made with chokeberries.
♦ Forager Chef has a recipe for simple chokeberry preserves.
♦ Shake up your chili routine with this unsual black bean chili with aronia berries from Superberries.
♦ This aronia vinaigrette from Forager Chef can add some superfood power to your next salad.
♦ These aronia cheesecake popsicles from Superberries are not only a healthy way to eat your aronia berries, they’re rich in protein and probiotics as well.
♦ Do you like to make your own granola? American Aronia Berry has a recipe for aronia granola here.
♦ These protein balls from American Aronia Berry have flax, chia, as well as aronia for a truly ‘super’ snack!
♦ This dairy-free aronia ice cream from Superberries gets its sweetness from dates.
♦ Aronia berries can be baked into pies like blueberries. Here’s a simple recipe from Blazer Farms.
♦ Interested in some novel cocktail ingredients? Try this chokeberry liqueur from Treehouse.
♦ Or make your own chokeberry wine with this recipe from Moonshiners Club.
♦ Dianaverse shares a slightly different recipe for aronia wine to try as well.
Ever cooked with chokeberries? What are your favorite aronia berry recipes?
Save these aronia berry recipes for later!
Additional aronia berry recipes photo credits for cover and pins: gojak, ankub, inerika
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.
Carol L says
I’m sorry, but I’m NOT going to any website, nor using any recipe with vomiting in the title.
This was a BAD choice of names for their website, IMO
Nice collection of recipes, with ONE exception.
I may have to try to find aronia berries now!
Hi, I had no idea we had these planted on our property and now in late October I have come to realize what we were missing. We have 3 very large plants bent over with fruit but most of it looks like it has dried on the plant. Is there any way I can still use them this late in the season? Thank you so much for your help! I can’t seem to find my answer out there at all.
I should think those would work in a syrup the same way you can use dried elderberries to make homemade elderberry syrup. Dried aronia is sold online for this purpose, as well as in powder form, so once they’re truly dried you could try grinding them up. The only thing they’ve likely lost from a nutritional perspective is water, so you’ll still be getting all those beneficial compounds. Let me know how it goes!
Hasn’t seen any aronia or chokeberries in Tennessee where they are supposedly “native”…maybe was too busy collecting rose hips(flowers and dried bulbs) in autumn 2022…then the persimmons were ripe way too early in August-September 2022….oyster fungi….then there were a few organic animal meat road critters….watercress…etc…will look a bit more to see if there are any in Tennessee…doubt that plant shrub was missed….
I tend to see them more in commercial landscape plantings than growing wild. Keep your eyes open and maybe you’ll come across some.