Chokeberry

1. ABOUT CHOKEBERRY

Chokeberry is extremely useful and curative herb, native to eastern North America, where beside the Chokeberry melanocarpa (black fruit Chokeberry) can be found also Arbutifolia Aronia (red leaves Chokeberry). Habitat of these two species is generally acidic and moist soil with 1000 - 1200 mm of rainfall per year. Even though the origin of Chokeberry is America, the real value of this plant has been recognized in Eastern Europe.
Chokeberry belongs to the family of Rose (Rosacea). There are several names for Aronia melanocarpa (black fruit Chokeberry) for example Aronia nigra, melanocarpa Sorbus, Pyrus melanocarpa and Mespilus arbutifolia var. melanocarpa.

In nature, Chokeberry is a deciduous shrub, 2-3 meters high and 2.5 meters wide. One of the main characteristics of the Chokeberry are beautiful white flowers in bouquets. In the climate area of continental countries, Chokeberry blossoms in late April. The leaves are oval, toothed edges, in the dark green vegetation, and in the fall receive a decorative bright red color.

Only after the development of leaves, in late Aprils, the first flower show. Individual flowers are white color, 12 mm wide and collected in clusters. Clusters consist mostly of 10 to 15 flowers, and the tips of shoots could have up to 30 flowers. Blossoming lasts about 10 days, and every single flower blooms only five days. Usually, bees pollinate the flowers, but pollination is also possible by the wind. Chokeberry is wild plant.

The round, purple-red fruits that come from flowers, regularly appear in large numbers. It is about tiny fruits, strongly resembling the medlars. Diameter of a fruit is 6 - 13.5 mm and Weight 1 - 1,5g. The fruits are initially covered with whitish layer, without which look like they were lacquered. Fruits ripen in August. Fruit flesh has a bright red color and sweet to sour and bitter flavor resembling blueberries. The fruit does not have pits, and the seeds are small.

Chokeberry has very low demands regarding climate and place for cultivation, so it can be managed in very different climate regions.

So, Chokeberry succeeds in the entire territory of Serbia. However, taking account of that the Chokeberry originally from the influence of the Atlantic climate, it better succeeds in the habitat with higher humidity of soil and air. The optimal amount of rainfall is 500 - 600 mm per year. Chokeberry succeeds well even in soils with high groundwater, where other types of fruit, such as apples and cherries, not manage. During planting Chokeberry, it should avoid extremely dry sandy soil, moist and compacted soil. Frost can not generally damage the flower and stalk of Chokeberry. Serious damages from freezing can be expected only at temperatures of -23 ° C in early winter, and at -30 ° C in mid-winter. The critical temperature limit of soil is -11 ° C.

Fruits ripen in the period from the beginning to the middle of August. Since all the fruits of usually ripen at the same time, it takes only one picking. In order to avoid overripe fruit which began to fall off, picking must be done quickly and immediately after the beginning of ripening. Some berries can still ripen before others. Picking may be by hand or machine. In manual picking fruits broke with thumb, where it can be picked up to 12 kg per hour. Large plantations usually use mechanical picking, and the effect of working machine ranges from 3 to 4 hours per hectare.

After picking, the fruits must be processed as soon as possible, it can be stored in plastic or wooden baskets for a short time. If fruits are not processed immediately after picking, fruits can be rapidly frozen and stored. In a typical storage at 15 - 25 ° C and 80% relative humidity, ripe fruits can be held for two weeks.

Depending on the method of planting, it is possible to achieve a yield of about 8 - 12 t / ha. Envisaged duration of nursery of Chokeberry is estimated at about 20 years.
Utilization of Chokeberry juice is high 75 - 80%, which can also be increased for 6%, if the fruits prior to squeezing sit out for a while at -5 ° C.

2. PLANTING AND GROWING

Chokeberry succeeds on almost all soils, tolerates excessive moisture, but is sensitive to drought.
It is extremely resistant to cold (endures temperatures up to -30 ° C), spring frosts can not harm it because of its late flowering. With regular maintenance (keep down of weeds, regular watering, rejuvenation by pruning of branches) every bush can give up to 10 kg of fruit.
 

Instructions for planting of Chokeberry seedlings:

1. Mark the planting position (the distance between plants in a row is 1.5 to 2 m)
2. Dig a hole depth and diameter of 50 cm
3. Mix 1/3 of dug out soil, 1/3 of manure and 1/3 of peat, press the mixture around the plants and water it well.

Note: in the case of packaged seedlings, remove the plastic film around the root before planting.

       

3. PRODUCTS AND RECIPES

Chokeberry cookies

The ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 125 ml butter
  • 60 ml brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 250 ml flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 125 ml ground walnuts
  • 200 ml chokeberry jam


Preparation: Preheat oven to 150 ˚ C. Separate the egg white from the yolk and whisk egg white and leave aside. Mix the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract and after that the flour and salt, and knead it well. Shape the dough into small balls (3 cm diameter) and roll in egg whites and nuts. Put them in an oiled cookie molds and bake 5 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and press each cookie with your finger. Pour about ½ teaspoon of jam of chokeberry into each cookie. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes. Cool and serve.
Tip: Use homemade jam of chokeberry from the next part of the recipes.

Chokeberry jam

The ingredients:

  • 7.5 ml water
  • 3000 ml chokeberry berries
  • 125 ml lemon juice (fresh)
  • 0.5 dl pectin
  • 1 750 ml sugar


Preparation: Lightly rinse and dry the berries chokeberry them. Put chokeberry berries in a bowl of 5-6 liters and add 7.5 ml of water. Cook berries until water boils, after that cover with a lid and cook on low heat for another 15 minutes. Mash berries pressing it gently with a fork the edge of the container. Squeeze chokeberry juice and drained berries can be used for tea. After that, mix in a bowl 1000 ml squeezed chokeberry juice, lemon juice and pectin. Boil the mixture by stirring until it boils, then add the sugar, constantly stirring and cook until really boils. After boiling, cook for exactly two minutes. Pour it into clean, hot jars and close it with the lid. This is amount for two liters of jam.

Chokeberry marmalade

The ingredients:

  • 2.0 kg chokeberry
  • 1.5 kg sugar


Preparation: Pour the sugar with half a liter of water and let it cook. When you make the syrup, add the washed chokeberry and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until a homogeneous mass. Pour hot jam into warmed jars, then put them back in the preheated oven to create a crust. When the jam has cooled, close the jars.

Chokeberry compote

The ingredients:

  • 1.0 kg chokeberry berries
  • 250 ml sugar
  • a few tablespoons of water


Preparation: Wash chokeberry berries. Put the sugar and chokeberry in a saucepan, pour it with a few tablespoons of water. Cook chokeberry berries without stirring, shake gently the saucepan a few times. When boiled, put them into hot jars and seal tightly.

Chokeberry wine

The ingredients:

  • 1.35 kg chokeberry
  • 230 g of dark grapes, chopped or minced
  • 0.9 kg finely minced sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon acid
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
  • 0.44 g of sodium metabisulphite or 1 tablet = ¼ teaspoon of wine sulphur
  • ¾ teaspoon of pectolytic enzyme
  • 3.8 l water
  • 5 g wine yeast


Preparation: boil 950 ml water and pour it over chopped grapes, sugar and lemon acid. Stirring until everything is melted and cover. After 2 hours, add wine sulphur and cover. Let it stay 12 hours or overnight. Put chokeberry berries in the bag (perforated, meshed), and immerse in a solution by hand (with gloves) and crush chokeberry berries in liquid. Stir in pectolytic enzymes, nutrients, and 2.4 liter of water. Cover and let stay 12 hours. Add activated yeast and cover. Once a day, crush chokeberry and mix the contents. After seven days, remove the bag and squeeze out all of chokeberry juice. Cover it and let it stay another three days to ferment. After three days, separate the grapes when you transfuse it into another bowl. Add water, up to 3.8 l of total volume and attach the gas tank. Transfuse every 30 days, for a period of 90 days. After these 90 days, leave, transfuse, conserve wine and add a sugar. If the wine lacks acidity, dissolve 1/8 tsp tannin (or more as needed) in 120 ml of wine, and stir into the pan with the wine. Cover, tighten the gas tank and after 30 days pour it into bottles or mix it with other wines.

Chokeberry syrup

The ingredients:

  • 1.0 kg chokeberry
  • 600 g sugar


Preparation: wash chokeberry berries, remove the stems and mash it. Add 200 g sugar, stir and leave covered in a cold place until the next day. Squeeze the fruit juice, add sugar and heat it by mixing. Cook juice for five minutes, put it hot in the bottles and immediately close them.

Milkshake with chokeberry

The ingredients:

  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml frozen strawberries
  • 250 ml chokeberry berries
  • 250 ml frozen yogurt vanilla or strawberry


Preparation: add all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth texture. Pour into glasses and serve immediately. This is amount for four servings.

4. HEALTH EFFECTS

Seven health benefits of the chokeberry based on scientific studies

RICH SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS (large concentration of polyphenols, known for exceptionally strong antioxidant activity)

PREVENTING DEVELOPMENT OF CANCER CELLS (immunostimulant properties)

HAS PROTECTIVE EFFECT ON LIVER

POSITIVE EFFECT ON HEART DISEASES

REDUCES THE LEVEL OF BLOOD SUGAR (contains sorbitol, natural sugars, which does not require insulin, so it is good for diabetes prevention)

REGULATES BLOOD PRESSURE

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES

It is also believed that chokeberry:

strengthens the body in fight against bacteria and viruses
maintains the health of the urinary system
strengthens memory
helps the digestive process
causes the body to produce high-density lipoprotein ("good cholesterol")

The chemical composition

Aronia melanocarpa is berry fruit, one of the richest plant sources of phenolic phytochemicals, including anthocyanins and procyanidine. A high proportion and composition of individual phenolic compounds are responsible for a wide range of potential medical and therapeutic effects of this herb. Chokeberry has a low level of calories and fat, but it is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibers.

Chokeberry has large amounts of phenolic flavonoids called anthocyanins. The total content of anthocyanins in chokeberry is 1480 mg per 100 g of fresh fruit, and the concentration of proanthocyanidin is ~ 664 mg per 100 g of fresh fruit (Wu et al. 2004th, 2006.).

Chokeberry is also rich in other flavonoids, such as carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, also antioxidants. Zeaksitin filtrates UV rays and thus protects eyes from degenerative diseases, especially in old age.

Chokeberry is also a good source of many vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta carotene and folic acid, as well as the minerals: potassium, iron and manganese. Consumption of 100 g of fresh berries provides about 35% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C.

The measure indicates the ability of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals from the body (ORAC - Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity), shows that chokeberry has the highest antioxidant capacity of all the berries and other fruits researched until now and records values -16,062 micro moles per 100 g.
More studies are needed to completely understand the positive effects of the individual components and to examine mechanism of action to the human body.


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