The perfect time to pick aronia berries in Finland is during fall, from October to early November.
Its bushes can be up to two meters high. The outlook of this berry is similar to blueberry, but the taste is more bitter and astringent. I picked those berries within two days. During the first days, they looked like this.
During the night, temperature dropped down below zero and the berries freezed.
Even thought they were very beautiful, it’s wasn’t that nice to pick them because it has to be done without gloves since you need to be very careful in order not to damage the bush.
Tip: if you don’t want to get your hands frozen, keep a glove in the hand you are not using to pick the berries and alternate them. In this way, your endurance will be longer 😀
My mouth could well recognize the difference between the berries picked in the two different days. The night spent below zero release partly the rough and sour flavor.
Surely it is worth overcoming little sourness if you think how healthy those berries are: rich of antioxidant and other nourishment that are able to fight against free radicals found in our body. Besides, they have a high quantity of vitamins C, A and E.
How can they be used?
A common way to use them among Finns is simply freezing them immediately after the picking. Just as they are, without even washing them (this is because they are picked in places with zero or almost traffic and consequently pollution). In this way you’ll always have them ready when you’ll want to make a smoothie or for the Finnish traditional puuro, or porridge.
Another way is to make juices out of them.
Or, combined with red currant, you can make a delicious jam 🙂