Black Chokeberry - Nero
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Nero Black Chokeberries.
Aronia melanocarpa
Black Chokeberry - Nero

Uses:
Acquired: 2008
How started:
Source:

Native to the eastern half of the United States. Early in the 20th century, aronia was introduced in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Russia where high quality, large fruited cultivars were selected. Thousands of acres of aronia are now grown in Eastern Europe. ‘Nero’ were selected in Poland for commercial fruit production.

When fully ripe, aronia berries have a sugar content as high as grapes or sweet cherries. They have a high acid content but are not sour when fully ripe. Juice from these berries is astringent and high in vitamin C and antioxidants. The berries have a sharply sour and sometimes astringent taste. The unpleasantness of the raw fruit can be overcome by cooking or processing it into jams, salsas, or baked goods. Anthocyanins contribute toward chokeberry's astringent property (that would deter pests and infections) and also give Aronia melanocarpa extraordinary antioxidant strength that combats oxidative stress in the fruit during photosynthesis. The USDA gave the Aronia berry an ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity—a measure of total antioxidants) of over 16,000, almost triple the amount of antioxidants of other powerhouses like acai, blueberries, or blackberries. The intense concentration of flavonoids and anthocyanins in the Aronia berry helps the body fight off viruses, allergies, and carcinogens. See a bar chart comparison in the image gallery on this page (Gallery tab). Analysis of anthocyanins in chokeberries has identified the following individual chemicals (among hundreds known to exist in the plant kingdom): cyanidin-3-galactoside, epicatechin, caffeic acid, quercetin, delphinidin, petunidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, and malvidin. All these except caffeic acid are members of the flavonoid category of antioxidant phenolics.

The fruit is rich in pectin and can be added to fruits that are low in this substance when making jams.

Black chokeberry is capable of crossing with Sorbus species.

Many current sources (including the USDA) list the species as Photinia melanocarpa.


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