Do not mistake it for a blueberry, not because it is poisonous and therefore dangerous but because you would do it a disservice given its generous properties side by side at a competitive price. We are talking aboutblack aronia. If you have never tried it, look for it and do it because it is worth it.
The scientific name of this plant is Aronia elanocarpa, belongs to the Rosaceae family and produces fruits very similar to blueberries but which for some odd reason are much less famous.
Originally from North America, thearonia it has already been present in Europe for some time, today it is grown mainly in Eastern countries and is considered a medicinal plant for how important are the benefits that can be obtained from a physical point of view.
Aronia has the shape of a bush or shrub, it never becomes a tree and does not exceed two meters in height. It produces red colored buds while the leaves are green, of medium size and with an oval shape. Only in the fall they become red and the shrub becomes a real spectacle, a red and orange shape, the colors of fire. Towards mid-spring the flowers appear to announce the arrival of the fruit. They are collected in neat clusters in groups of about 20 and last very little open, less than a week and then they are already ruined. In summer there are fruits that are always in clusters, black, like blueberry berries, perhaps slightly larger. They ripen in the summer, three months after the flowers appear.
To obtain a good harvest we must put this plant at ease, in cold environments, even very cold ones, since the heat strains its growth and hinders its flowering. When very hot summers arrive, it can only survive if there are thunderstorms every now and then that cool the air. Such a climate is exactly what Aronia finds inEastern Europe, its favorite habitat on this side of the ocean.
The most suitable soils for the cultivation of this plant are the humid ones, better to avoid the arid ones, they must not be too treated but compact, it does not matter that they are low in salt content but better if located in a cold weather even up to minus 30 * C. The flowers also resist frost well, albeit sudden in the middle of warm spring.
As a plant it doesn't need a lot of attention from us, it gets by on its own. If we feel like it and if it is needed in terms of size, in autumn we can prune it a little while fertilization can be avoided because it grows by itself when the time comes. Another great news is that this plant can be grown without using fungicides because it is almost never attacked by parasites.
THE aronia fruits they are very precious and are used to produce various foodstuffs such as juices and syrups but also jams, and then they are consumed dried, natural. It is rare to see them eaten fresh because these fruits have a tannic taste and therefore acidulous but the flavor is intense and is liked by many. It is small and black, to prevent it from having too sour taste it is sometimes frozen.
These little berries are a source of health that too few people still know about. Compared to other fruits such as black grapes, thearonia contains a very high quantity of anthocyanins: 800 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh fruit. These substances are very important for the prevention of various cardiovascular diseases but they also stem damage from oxidative stress. These small fruits contain a lot of precious nutrients, let's see some of them.
- Antioxidants, useful for counteracting premature cell aging. Berries contain polyphenols, flavonoids and especially anthocyanins, which is why they are in the top 5 of premature anti aging foods
- Vitamin C. In one hectogram of berries we find a third of our daily requirement. It is a major contribution to a vitamin that has so many benefits. Helps the bones strengthen, it's good for you to the skin and collagen, supports us in fighting colds.
- Vitamin K, very important for blood clotting and against calcification of the arteries. Thanks to this vitamin, the berries keep cholesterol levels low and blood pressure under control. They help prevent atherosclerosis but at the same time can create problems for those who take anticoagulant drugs.
- Quinic acid, in abundance, which serves to purify the urinary tract e prevent infections.
- Iron, the aronia is very rich in it, so much so that if we eat a hectogram of it, we are already fine with our daily needs. We remember that iron must be taken because we are not able to produce it self but we need a lot for oxygenation of the cells.
- Potassium. Other mineral salt that abounds in these small fruits and which serves to ensure a good functioning of the cardiovascular system. It reduces cardiovascular pressure by relaxing blood vessels and arteries.
- Fibers. They are rich in it and this makes aronia a recommended fruit to those suffering from diabetes and to those who want to prevent it because it improves insulin regulation. Fiber is also very useful for bowel regularity and good digestion.
In addition to these proven properties, there are others that are being studied. Among all the investigations in progress also those on anticancer abilities. The hope is that the high content of anthocyanins can have preventive effects on the development of certain types of cancer and, in particular, colon cancer.
Waiting for good news we can use Aronia as antistress substance in the form of a drink, recommended in conditions of born out or heavy workload to have a mental and cognitive charge, to improve psycho-physical efficiency. At the same time, we also have positive effects on the skin, gums and capillaries.
Aronia: where to buy it
The dried aronia added to granola or fruit salads, or to enrich desserts already based on dried fruit is perfect. It is not easy to find it on the market, I found it in a delightful store of bulk products in my city, always well stocked and attentive, you can look for it in such or organic shops, or order it online. To find recipes with this ingredient, it is best to try to study the gastronomic traditions of Eastern European countries where it is known and loved.