Black chokeberry or Aronia is a deciduous shrub with slightly tart, sour-sweet berries that are nice and healthy. Learn how to preserve these delicious berries in the freezer to have year-round access to their benefits.
There are few calories in chokeberries, but there are a lot of vitamins, minerals, and beta-carotene. The berries are rich in vitamins C, P, E, PP, and B vitamins. In addition, aronia berries also contain a number of trace elements, mainly iron, boron, iodine compounds, copper, manganese, and molybdenum.
You harvest aronia like many other plants in the autumn (September-October), preferably after the first frost. During this time, you can collect well-ripened berries, which will later become excellent components of jam, fruit compotes, coulis, liqueurs, and other yummy goodies. However, August this year in my area was unnaturally hot, and the sun heat started drying the fruit. So I decided to pick aronia berries earlier to save them from drying out.
How to Preserve Black Chokeberries for winter
You can preserve aronia for winter in several ways, depending on how you are going to use it later. I like to add aronia berries to the dough when baking muffins and fruit cakes and use it together with other types of berries to make fruit drinks. So, my main requirement is to save the form of the berries. Freezing whole berries is the perfect option. How great that chokeberry perfectly tolerates freezing without losing its beneficial properties.
You can also store aronia in the freezer pureed. Take 1 part sugar for 3 parts of berries. I had 200 g of sugar with 600 g of aronia berries combined and then blended into a fine mixture. Transfer the aronia pure into a container that can be used in the freezer.
Here is my favorite way to freeze aronia berries for further use. You will need some cooking appliances:
- a colander;
- a kitchen towel (or paper towels);
- a zip-lock bag.
- Wash the fruit thoroughly, and then get rid of the clusters with leaves and stems.
- Lay them out on the flat surface over the paper towel or kitchen towel. Let berries dry to get rid of the excess moisture. You can try carefully patting them dry with paper towels. But try not to damage the berries in the process.
- Take a zip-lock bag and put berries inside. Place them in one layer like you see in the picture, and try to get rid of the air as much as possible before sealing the lock.
- Freeze for further use.
I find this method the most convenient one for me. You can also lay out the berries on a flat surface, for example, a cutting board or, let`s say, a big plate, and leave the berries in the freezer for several hours to freeze first and then transport them to any container or a bag. However, once I completely forgot about the berries I had in the freezer and found them the next day. The other time, I somehow placed the plate not evenly, and all the berries went scattered all over the place.
Try it, and tell me your favorite way to freeze black chokeberries! Leave your feedback in the comment section below!