With the decline of the human fascination over agrochemistry and synthetic improvement of nature, the world s turning back to natural food and natural medecine. aronia (Aronia Melanocarpa) fruit seem to be a landmark on this road back due to their unique capacity for combining the qualities of both healthy food and a therapeutic agent which can be prescibed for many common diseases of our age.
The native land of aronia is eastern North America, where in the wild it easily adapts to different conditions.
It grows up to 2.5 m tall and 1.5-2 m in diameter. The flowers are white and produced in corymbs 5-6 cm of ca. 20-25 together. The extended blooming period starts in late May. The fruit set quickly, which almost eliminates the effect of late freeze and the percentage of fruit set is around 80-90. The period of fruit formation in various years is 80-90 days.
The aronia's fruit is black, globoid or oval, with light waxy bloom, 8-12 mm in diameter and 1-1.5 g in weight. The shrubs grown through vegetative propagation (and this is the only method I recommend to start a commercial plantation) will bear fruit in the third and sometimes even second year. The productive period is sometimes more than 20 years. The annual fruit yield is 12-17 tonnes per hectare, mean 15 ton/ha.
aronia growing gives good economic results owing to the regular annual abundant fruiting. Aronia fruit can be used fresh or in preserves.
Due to the presence of anthocyanin pigments, aronia preserves have a beautiful and clear colour. The natural juice, even at 100 times dilution, is not decolourized and shows a pink colour.
However, the biggest value of aronia fruit is not the beautiful colour or the delicious taste of the preserves, but is unique content of vitamins for which aronia is recognized as a medicinal plant. The content of Vitamin P is between 1200-5000 mg%, mean 2500-3500 mg% (in most known fruit the content of Vitamin P does not exceed a few dozen mg%).
Black aronia fruit and natural juice can be recommended for wide use in the treatment of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, gastritis, haemorrhoid and capillary conditions. The recent studies show that natural Vitamin P in aronia fruit can be very helpful as a preventive and healing agent against the negative effect of radiation on a human body. Besides the already mentioned Vitamin P, aronia fruit contain Vitamins: C, PP, B2, B6, E and carotene (pro-Vitamin A). Fresh fruit contains also microelements, such as: radium, molybdenum, boron and iodine.
The comparison with other fruits rich in Vitamin P, such as lemons or mandarins, works clearly to the advantage of black aronia. Thus, in the treatment of hypertension the patient is put on a 4-day Vitamin P cure during which he/she is given 1 kg of fresh aronia fruit in a daily dose of 25 dkg. If you wanted to replace the aronia fruit with lemons or mandarins, you would have to eat 25 kg of lemons or 25 kg of mandarins.
The presence of tannin gives black chokeberries their astringent flavour, which makes them less favourite to eat as fresh fruit. However, with the addition of sugar they can be used to produce delicious preserves, jelly, jam, marmalade, etc. Particularly valuable are the preserves, in which the P-active compounds can be conserved almost intact. aronia can be a very valuable addition to meat or poultry.
Piotr Eggert, MSc. Eng.