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The chokeberry aronia: tart fruit with a high health value
The apple berry - better known under the botanical name Aronia - is a plant that stands out mainly because of the many healthy ingredients of its fruits. The small black berries taste sweet to sour and above all tart. Mostly they are offered processed, dried, as juice, jelly or fruit spread.
When we talk about “aronia”, we usually mean black chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa. Its ripe fruits are purple-black, rounded and reminiscent of blueberries, but they are a bit larger. At the beginning of growth, they are covered with a whitish wax layer. However, this is lost over time and the fruits shine almost black. The flesh turns intense red as it ripens. The fruits are not - as the name might suggest - berries.
Botanically there are so-called common follicles, just like apples and pears. Therefore, they have more in common with these two rose plants than with botanically real berries, to which they resemble externally. However, the fruits of the apple berries do not contain a core and only small, light to dark brown seeds. They ripen from August to October to around 10 to 30 fruits on the umbels of the robust aronia shrub.
In addition to many vitamins, the apple berries mainly contain secondary plant substances such as anthocyanins. They even have more of this blue-red dye than any other fruit. Anthocyanins are among the flavonoids that protect body cells from free radicals and are said to slow cell oxidation. In this way, fat deposits in the blood vessels can be reduced and atherosclerosis can be prevented. Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory effects. In addition to phytochemicals, aronia fruits contain a lot of vitamin C (13.7 mg / 100 g fresh berries).
Minerals are also abundant; especially iron, iodine, calcium, potassium and zinc. In addition, the small fruits also offer sugar and small amounts of tannins, which are also responsible for the tart taste. Fresh aronia berries should not be eaten in excessive quantities, since the seeds contain hydrocyanic acid.
Aronia berries can also be frozen. Thawed, they are less bitter. If you like it even milder, process the aronia berries into juice, jam, fruit sauces or syrup. Dried aronia fruits taste like raisins and are good for baking and cooking. Due to the high dye content, for example, aronia pomace - which is produced during the production of juice - is used as a natural dye in other food products.
By the way: The aronia berry originally comes from the northeast of the USA. From there it came to Central Europe via Russia in the 1950s. Aronia is now increasingly being grown in Germany, particularly in Saxony and Brandenburg, but also in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony and Bavaria. So the apple berry is also grown locally - just ask the local fruit grower. Heike Stommel, respectively