[NAFEX] Aronia paradox
jfruth at tds.net
Sat Dec 20 12:30:29 EST 2008
Anthony Curcio wrote, "I tried to follow the Aronia Topic yet I may have
missed an e-mail. Do you have a summary of what you found as the best
tasting or what you are going to try next?"
Because we (Brambleberry Farm) make nearly 40 different kinds of jams,
jellies and syrups, a new fruit variety has to taste phenomenally good
before we add it to our line. Aronia was not one of them. It didn't sell.
Most of our customers never heard of it and Minnesotans won't buy the
unfamiliar unless introduced to it and it tastes really delicious. My wife,
Esther, makes the jelly (I make the syrups [3,000 bottles in 2008] plus grow
and harvest most of the fruit we use). Esther made over 25,000 jars of
jelly this year and she tastes every batch. Aronia jelly was chopped from
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the plants were in the way so I
grubbed them out and sold them to someone. They were named varieties. The
fruit was tasty but not all that good, nothing I'd walk across the street
for. After those plants were gone, I began encountering papers written
about it, how healthy the berries are. There are people who make/sell
Aronia Juice. I also learned that a common name for them is "Chokeberry"
and that it is used for coloring other jellies. So I ordered three times as
many plants that I had before, wild plants this time, from the New Hampshire
Department of Conservation. We have a Ukrainian immigrant who works for us
and she got really excited when she saw the plants (and fruit). She
remembered eating it in Russia where they call it "Rabinia" (requires a
tongue roll on the RRRRRR).
Diabetic customers keep begging for more sugar-free jelly varieties and
Choke"cherry" is frequently asked for. Last year I picked 650 pounds of
chokecherries for jelly and syrup and we ran out before the 2008 crop
ripened so, this year, I picked 802 lbs., but an extra 150 lbs. isn't enough
to also use it in sugar-free so Esther and I toyed with the idea of
"Sugar-Free Chokeberry." The first harvest of the new planting was in 2008.
Now for the paradox: As mentioned earlier, our new Aronia fruit is
nearly tasteless when eaten fresh but, before I made the decision to
eradicate the patch, I figured I'd cook up a small batch to see if it would
be worthy enough to use it for coloring. Much to my surprise, the syrup I
made from it tastes FANTASTIC!!! When I gave Esther a taste of it, she
immediately made plans to add it to the jelly line and "Sugar-Free
Chokeberry" has even been added to the wholesale list. The paradox
is...................the named varieties were nicely edible when eaten fresh
but made a mediocre tasting jelly while the wild fruit is nearly tasteless
fresh but has a wonderful flavor when cooked. Now I wonder if I planted
enough of them.
Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
For jams, jellies, syrups & Christmas Gift Baskets:
(218)831-7018 [My Cell]
More information about the nafex