Baby boomers across this country have shown a great deal of interest in everything to do with healthy eating, disease prevention and slowing down the aging process.
What’s black and blue, and grows in the wild, in city parks, and along roadsides across the midwest? It’s the relatively common, but largely unnoticed, chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa). Cultivated in the 70s as an ornamemtal, primarily for its pretty flowers in the spring, its black, glossy berries and leaf color in the fall, not a lot of attention was initially paid to the nutritional benefits of chokeberries.This may be due in part because the berries themselves, are not sweet straight off the bush (hence, the name). Eventually, because of the intensely colored fruit, nutritional studies were done, revealing surprising statistics.
It’s great for making jams and jellies, and enthusiasts who don’t want the added sugar, simply drink the juice. If you want to try your hand at growing your own, it’s relatively easy, as the bushes will grow in virtually any soil, need little care or fertilization, and can toleratesome shade (preferring sun). Many nurseries carry the shrubs. Otherwise, if you don’t have the time or patience to grow and process them, the juice is readily available through suppiers online. A good place to start for information is Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chokeberry. If you are on facebook, you can follow this author’s chokeberry page as she grows, picks, and prepares her own.