By: Beth Rotto, Chill and Cheese Buyer
Have you been hearing more and more about Aronia Berries? If not, I expect you will. Iowa growers are getting into raising this crop as our own Midwest “superfruit.”* High in antioxidants (claimed to be 3 times higher than blueberries) and native to the heartland, these astringent, sour fruits can be eaten off the bush but are more frequently processed, like their relative the cranberry. Country View Dairy, our local yogurt supplier, has started producing a new flavor of Greek yogurt: Aronia Blackberry. Blackberries complement and sweeten up the taste of the Aronia. Each 6 ounce cup of Aronia Blackberry Greek Yogurt contains the equivalent of 20 Aronia Berries in the form of concentrate. The Aronia Berries used are sourced from four Iowa growers.
And guess what? Country View Dairy is the first company to make an Aronia flavored yogurt for sale in the US. With most, if not all, yogurt companies getting their flavoring from the same industry supplier in Chicago, this is a big innovation for Country View Dairy and Iowa. I consider it a claim to fame.
Aronia Berries, which have been popular in parts of Europe for a long time, are gaining visibility in the US. They are not the same as choke cherries but are sometimes called choke berries. I enjoy the flavor of this fruit and use it every day in drinks that I make for breakfast and to bring to work. I purchase Superberries Aronia Concentrate and use just a few drops to flavor both smoothies and water kefir. I love the color it makes my drinks (dark pink) as well as the taste. Superberries Aronia Concentrate is found in the refrigerated department located in the back of our store. A bottle lasts me for several months. Lots of folks on staff at the Co-op keep Aronia Concentrate on-hand at home.
As a special bonus, if you are in the West Union/Hawkeye area, you are welcome to stop into Country View to watch yogurt being made Monday-Thursday. You can watch through their viewing window in their Country View Creamery Farm Store.
*Just so you know, there is no official definition of a superfruit. It’s a catchy name usually referring to fruits that have exceptional nutritional qualities, such as antioxidants and high amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is more often used with fruits and berries that are unfamiliar to the public than traditional fruits that may also be full of good stuff. Similar to the word “natural” its definition is entirely up to the person using the word.