What are aronia berries?

Posted October 10, 2014 in aronia berries, superfood, smoothies, oatmeal, breakfast, snacks, healthy eating, healthy living, eat, food, produce, fruit

A couple of months ago, I was having a Twitter convo with another blogger about acai berries. I've been dying to buy acai berry smoothie packs to make acai bowls.

Well, Whole Foods Omaha chimed into our conversation and suggested that we try aronia berries because they are also a superfood and they are grown more locally - in Iowa.

I added them to my Whole Foods list, but I haven't been to WF since the recommendation.

Well, I just happened to spot aronia berries at Hy-Vee! I was so excited to try this new fruit.

When the BF and I first tasted them, we were...not fans. The berries are very tart and leave a cotton-mouth after feeling. 

I did a little research online to see what was up with these berries. 

The berries I bought were from Sawmill Hollow Family Farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa. They even host the North American Aronia Berry Festival! The farm, apparently, reintroduced the aronia berry commerically to the United States. Aronia berries haven't been cultivated in the United States since the turn of the century! The farm is also working to help other farmers start aronia berry plots.

According to Washington State University, in Denmark, Eastern Europe and Russia, aronia berries are popular for juicing and for making wine. WSU recommends making juice out of aronia berries. More info here.

So why should you eat aronia berries?

"Interest in the health benefits of aronia juice is based on its very high levels of anthocyanins and flavonoids, five to ten times higher than cranberry juice, with beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants, polyphenols, minerals and vitamins, that may include compounds that specifically fight cancer and cardiac disease" - Washington State University

The key to making these little superfruits taste delicious is mixing aronia berries with something sweeter.

I made oatmeal with the berries, and added pure maple syrup for sweetness. I couldn't taste the tart, cottoniness as much, but it wasn't my fave oatmeal mix in.

My next experiment with aronia berries was a smoothie. This was much better! I used some juice that I had made a couple of days before to add sweetness, but you could use bottled apple juice or watermelon chunks. It was delicious!

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup watermelon/apple juice

1/4 cup aronia berries

1/2 frozen banana

I washed the remaining aronia berries, dried them and froze them. I'm going to use the rest in smoothies. I think that works best.

Have you ever tried aronia berries? What did you think?

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