Foraging Wild Fruit: Black Chokeberry

Photo of Black Chokeberry

I've known about Black Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) for many years, but for the most part I've ignored them as food. The few I tried years ago were dry, astringent, and rather tasteless. They weren't exactly bad, just not really worth eating. But last week, while gathering various blueberries and huckleberries, I found several clumps of Black Chokeberry bushes loaded with fruit that looked plump and tasty. So, I picked a few, chewed them up, and heck, they tasted pretty good!

Sam Thayer writes of juicing this fruit with much success, and I may someday give that a try. But for now, I find that the unique flavor of fresh Black Chokeberries blends well with other dark berries of the season (see my foraging chart for a partial list). Chokeberries look like dark pea-sized apples and grow in clusters that can be gathered efficiently. Some years, the berries persist into winter, but I suspect they are best for fresh eating in late July or August, just after they fully ripen and are at peak juiciness. If you've written this fruit off, perhaps this is the (time of) year to give it another try.

Photo of Black Chokeberry handful

3 thoughts on “Foraging Wild Fruit: Black Chokeberry”

  1. It seems that the Striped Hairstreak butterfly likes the Black Chokeberry plant, presumably when it’s in flower. As we have seen the beautiful little Gray Hairstreak, this would be a really nice find – if it’s in this region.

  2. i believe i have several black choke cherry trees or bushes that are loaded but i’m nervous to try thinking my ID of them might be wrong

    1. Ed: I’d be happy to take a look at some photos if you’d like to email some to me, but I agree with you, if you aren’t at least 100% sure of the identification (200% is better đŸ™‚ ), it’s best to hold off on eating the fruit.

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