Aronia berries, also known as chokeberries, are becoming increasingly common in domestic gardens. This is because the pea-sized fruits of the deciduous shrubs contain many valuable ingredients when harvested ripe.
According to the calendar
Generally, the harvest time of chokeberries is between mid-August and mid-late September. Within Europe, the harvest of chokeberries begins somewhat earlier in the south. Thus, the healthy berries in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg may already have reached the right degree of ripeness at the beginning of August. In the central and northern European regions, harvest time begins somewhat later.
However, since the weather does not always adhere to the calendar, if the summer is rainy, you should expect a late start to the harvest. On the other hand, if it is dry and sunny, the berries can be harvested earlier.
While the start of the harvest ultimately depends on the weather in summer, you can almost determine the end of the harvest period yourself. This is because chokeberries remain on the bush until December and become increasingly sweeter as they ripen longer. You will get the highest sugar content, the sweetest fruit, if you harvest the berries after the first frost.
Note: If the chokeberry remains on the bush longer, it may acquire a shriveled appearance. However, this does not negatively affect the taste.
After the fruit ripens
There are several indications for recognizing the ripe chokeberry:
- dark red stalk
- easy picking of the berries
- smooth, plump surface of the chokeberry berries
- dark purple, almost black color
These clues are helpful, but sometimes they are not completely clear. If you want to be sure, you should, firstly, be guided by the birds. Because they like to eat the ripe chokeberries. On the other hand, you can perform the so-called knife test:
- pick a few berries from different parts of the bush
- cut them in the middle with a knife
If the flesh of the aronia berries is completely dark red in color, they are ripe for harvesting. Moreover, when tasting the berries, if the inside has the right color, you will taste a sweet, slightly tart and intense aroma.
However, you can also measure the degree of ripeness of the chokeberry. To do this, use a refractometer to check the sugar content of the berry by dripping some fruit juice onto the measuring surface of the device. If the so-called Brix value is 18 percent or more, the chokeberries are ripe.
Frequently asked questions
Are chokeberries poisonous?
Chokeberries contain amygdalin, which can lead to the release of prussic acid in the human body. Therefore, you should consume raw fruit only in small quantities. If the berry is cooked, the consumption of the products is not considered problematic.
Are there different harvest times between the different species?
There are no differences in harvest time, but there are differences in yield. For example, the variety “Rubina” is considered very high yield.