This being the month when the world seems to contemplate “matters of the heart”, I thought it a good time to write of this extraordinary super-berry, Aronia (Latin: Aronia Melanocarpa).
Aronia originated in North America and had long been used by the Potawatomi Native Americans to cure colds and give them fortitude, before the berry made its way to Eastern Europe (Poland and Russia), as a novel crop in the second half of the 20th Century. I don’t know, but I imagine this vibrant dark purple juice, might have been used as facepaint on those Indian warriors!
Aronia is a deciduous shrub from the rose family, which produces white flowers in May, that then give way to deep purple, blackish fruits by the end of August. About 10mm in diameter, as if a swollen blue berry, it is not a berry that is likely to be eaten straight off the bush as it is quite sharp to the taste when raw. The degree of sharpness or sweetness depends on the location and weather conditions of where the fruit is grown.
Aronia in the UK
Today the Aronia Berry is widely grown in Eastern Europe as well as North America (where it is sometimes known as Chokeberry). It was more recently introduced to UK shores by the “Father of Aronia” in the UK, Andrew Tickle at Johnsons Farm in Kent.
Andrew travelled all over the world to study this berry before establishing his own plantation on his homestead farm in Kent. Andrew will tell you himself that it has been a voyage of discovery and he has learnt the hard way about how to care for, and harvest, this crop. His passion for this fabulous berry and its benefits are not difficult to see when you meet him.
Click the link below to see Andrew Tickle preparing his harvest at Johnsons Farm in Kent;
Andrew not only grows Aronia, but he produces his own Aronia Juice on his farm in a production facility he built himself.
You can read more about Andrew on his website, www.aroniaberriesuk.co.uk.
Andrew Tickle (I love that name!), is so enthusiastic about the health benefits of Aronia, as well as speaking worldwide on the topic, he has set up “Aronia Berries Worldwide” to create a platform to promote Aronia growers and producers worldwide and raise awareness of this amazing berry.
Globally, there are now a growing number of Aronia products available on the market: Aronia juice, Aronia jam, Aronia and Apple juice, sweets with Aronia in (Haribo), chocolate with Aronia, Aronia Tea, Aronia Salt and our very own Aronia Water Kefir from Nordic Wellness Drinks made with Andrew’s berries.
Aronia Water Kefir from Nordic Wellness Drinks, Surrey
Aronia - The Super, Super-berry!
I was first introduced to this berry a few years ago, when I came across its juice while travelling. It is only recently, after meeting Andrew, that I have learned of its extra ordinary health benefits and experienced them for myself.
Aronia is said to be hugely beneficial to the cardiovascular system and studies have shown that taking a small amount of Aronia daily as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, will boost your circulation and help fight cardiovascular disease, diabetes and urinary tract illnesses. It has also been declared as anti-carcinogenic. It contains more antioxidants than blueberries, cranberries, elderberries and raspberries.
There is a considerable amount of research done detailing the specific health benefits of Aronia. (Click link here to find out more: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles)
Aronia berries are believed to be so beneficial as they contain high levels of polyphenols, which are micronutrients with high anti-oxidant activity found in some plant foods.
Aronia contains flavonoids, which is a polyphenol that has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Aronia has an extremely high concentration of the flavonoid anthocyanin (about 1,480 mg per 100g of fresh Aronia fruit).
You can buy 100% pure Aronia Juice, fresh from Andrew Tickle’s farm on his website, here.
And watch out for an Instagram Live interview with Andrew in the Spring/Summer, when we can walk through his Aronia plantation once again.
Wishing you Good Health always,