Chokeberries at Tinytrees Wicklow

Chokeberries at tinytrees wicklow

Every year at the Tinytrees garden I try something new to grow, mainly anything healthy and that can be eaten. Last year I planted some bareroot Choke Berries (Aronia) and this year it produced its first crop. Their are two varieties available Black (Aronia melanocarpa) and Red (Aronia arbutifoilia). The variety I grow is Aronia melanocarpa.

The Chokeberry or Aronia is a member of the Rosaceae family and is most commonly grown as a garden shrub. It is claimed to have great health benefits and have the highest level of antioxidants. See references below.

How to Grow.

If you want to grow the Choke Berry, don’t worry they are not that difficult. They are very tolerant plants and don’t have many pests or diseases to deal with. They are suitable for beginners.

  • Plant in well drained moist soil.
  • After choosing your location, dig a whole about a meter deep (three foot three in old type) and about two times the width of the root-ball.
  • Before planting put some stones in the base of the hole to help with drainage. Fill the hole with plenty of water and let it drain off.
  • When planting fill up with good rich soil. I normally place the old grass sods upside down on top of the soil. Then water again once planted.
  • Water well in first couple of months.

The plant over time does throw out some suckers, so make sure it has room to grow.

The Fun Part, Eating…

Raw berries are extremely tart (hence the name “chokeberry”), so they’re best when cooked and made into a health juice, jam or wine. Myself I prefer warming them slightly in the oven and adding  some natural sugar. See list below for more details.

Can you Bonsai them? I have never tried. Let me know if you have…

4 c. chokecherry juice
3/4 to 1 c. sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. farina or cream of wheat
Heat the juice to boiling and slowly add farina, sugar and salt.
Stirring constantly, cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until; farina is
done.  Transfer to a large bowl and cool to lukewarm.
Beat with mixer at high speed for about 20 minutes until mixture is
light and fluffy. Serve chilled with cream.
Chokecherry Cordial Pie
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
Press into 9″x 13″ pan. Bake 10 minutes @ 350°F
Chokecherry pudding sauce
2 cups chokecherry juice (process described later)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Add cornstarch to 1/2 cup cold juice. To the remainder of the juice
add sugar and bring to boil; add cornstarch/juice mixture. Cook to
thicken. Add salt and almond extract. Cool.
Chokecherry Juice
Cover chokecherry fruit with water, mash and boil at the same time.
After boil, simmer for a half hour mashing occasionally. Squeeze
through a cheese cloth or push through a jelly press taking care not
to crush pits. Crush to extract as much flavor as possible! Pits are
very sturdy and will be very hard to break open
Chokecherry Pie
1 9″ baked pie shell
2 cups chokecherry juice
3 level tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Cook ingredients until thick, stirring constantly. Cool.
Pour into pie shell and chill.
Serve with whipped cream or cream topping.
Chokecherry Crown Rolls
ingredients for the recipe
4 1/4 cup flour unsifted
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 package yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup margarine
1  Egg — room temperature
Chokecherry filling:
2 cup Chokecherries — pitted
1 cup Chokecherry juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
recipe preparation
Blend chokecherry juice with sugar and cornstarch. Cook, stirring
constantly until thickened and clear. Add pitted chokecherries. Cool.
In large bowl mix 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast.
Combine milk, water and margarine in sauce pan and heat over low heat
until liquid is very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Margarine doesn’t need
to have melted.
Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of
electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg and 1/2 cup flour.
Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Add enough additional flour to make a stiff
batter. Cover bowl tightly with foil. Chili 2 hours or overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator and let warm up and raise slightly, about
1/2 hour. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board, divide into 18 pieces.
Roll each piece into a rope, 15 inches long.
Hold one end of each rope in place and wind dough around loosely to form
coil. Tuck end firmly underneath. Place on greased baking sheets about
2 inches apart. Cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Make indentations about 1 inch wide in center of each coil. Pressing to
bottom. Fill with chokecherry filling,
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. Remove from pans
and cool on wire racks. When cool. Drizzle with thin icing.

Where to buy in Europe:

If you want to grow your own see Future Forests.

See the following links for more health information:

Article I wrote on on Chokeberries, the poor mans Gogi berry


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