Black chokeberries or Aronia are a deciduous shrub that comes from the family of Rosaceae. Found in wet as well as dry vegetation, marshlands, swamp and under full sun, these berries are sweet-sour in taste. They are foods for insects, animals, and humans and thrive well in the eastern North America. White and pink flowers bloom during the spring and the fruit ripens by late summer. The leaves turn bright red in autumn, they are wider in top than bottom and have crenate margins. There are basically three species apart from black, others are red chokeberries, purple chokeberries, and Sorbaronia mitschurinii. These shrubs are very small in size and are known as the “ornamental plants” that are used in garden and houses. The leaves are 6cm and the fruits are 6-9mm wide respectively. The plant bear white flowers and black fruits which are larger in size than the red chokeberries. The berries are rich in polyphenols, especially anthocyanins that gives them rich colours.
- They are the richest source of flavonoid and antioxidant. It increases the immune system and prevents inflammation.
- It reduces the risks of having colon cancer and cervical cancer by 80%. It stops the development of tumour tissues and thus gets rid of the cancer cells.
- The dietary fiber prevents heart diseases, heart attack, coronary artery diseases, and lowers the level of cholesterol.
- It also possesses health benefits against aging and neurological diseases, diabetes, and bacterial infection.
- The berries contain certain anti-oxidants among which zeaxanthin are one of them. It protects the eyes and prevents uveitis and inflammation.
- It helps in digestion, lose calories and helps body to fight against free radicals.
- Other benefits include providing loads of energy to your body, keeps you strong and healthy throughout the day.
There are no such notable side effects reported, but people are advised not to intake red chokeberries in large quantities.
- The chokeberries contain oxalic acid, which interacts with the calcium of the body and results in the formation of stones in kidney and bladder.
- The oxalic acid may also result in the formation of oxalate stones in the urinary tract. So it is advised to consume more water for normal urine production.
Ways to prepare
The berries are better in taste and sweetness and the fruits can be eaten raw. The black chokeberries go great with desserts, salads dressings, and ice- cream. The juices, jellies and the syrup made from the fruits are often used in different recipes, which add a delicious taste to the dishes. The fruits are dried to make herbal tea, and also used for flavouring and colouring beverages, wine, and yogurts. They are also baked into pies, muffins, bread, and cakes. They are also suitable for baby food products.
The black chokeberries are earning popularity for the vitamin and the mineral content. They are consumed more by the health freaks and are constantly added to the diet charts of the people who want to stay healthy or fit. The unique flavour of the fruits makes them useful in the preparation of dishes.