Chokeberries, The Poor Man’s Goji Berry

Chokeberries, The Poor Man’s Goji Berry

Author: Paul Masterson

Aronia Flowers

Aronia Flowers

Chokeberries, the poor man Goji berry. High in anti-oxidants, sour tasting hence the name but great in fruit juices, jams and wine.

Living in Ireland were the weather can be too damp to grow many of what we call ‘Super Foods’ I got excited when I heard about the Chokeberry. You see the Chokeberry is a hardy little plant that is trouble free to grow, yeh! It doesn’t have pests or diseases to contend with and the birds so far haven’t discovered them. They are probably too busy with the strawberries.

Last autumn (fall) I planted three experimental Chokeberry plants to see if they would produce any fruit.

Aronia Berry or Chokeberry

Aronia Berry or Chokeberry

I live in a rural location on the side of a hill, two miles from the sea. The house is called ‘Windy Acre’ for a self explaining reason. So it is a challenge to grow anything. I planted these plants in full sun with some protection from the cold Northerly winds under the Ash tree. The Ash stands at approximately 40’ high and does break the winds.

The plants survived the coldest winter on record for Ireland. We normally have mild winters, but last winter was the exception when temperatures plummeted to sub-zero during the day. When spring came I was glad to see them flowering. The flowers are multi-stemmed with white petals and are similar to brambles.

During flowering it is best to water these at least every day in a dry spell, although they are quite tolerant if not watered too often.

Aronia Berry or Chokeberry

Aronia Berry or Chokeberry

The Chokeberries are now producing fruit in multi-stemmed clusters. They are approximately 7mm in size with a bluish-black colour. If not picked, the fruit will remain on the plant until the winter.

Some propagation tips:

  1. Seeds should be stratified in moist peat for 3 months between 2c and 5c.
  2. Softwood cuttings taken in early summer root easily untreated. Use a rooting hormone.
  3. Division has also proved to be highly successful. Cutting suckers with a sharp spade and transplanting them throughout the garden will almost always work.

So if you want a low cost ‘Super Food’, do give the Chokeberry a try.

Medicinal uses:

  1. Originally considered to be of little medicinal value, new research shows that Aronia melanocarpa has a high concentration of polyphenols and anthocyanins, stimulating circulation, protecting the urinary tract, and strengthening the heart.
  2. Ongoing studies at the University of Illinois also suggest that Aronia may include compounds that fight cancer and cardiac disease.

Paul writes for and owns www.bonsai.ie, a specialist web journal on Bonsai, Japanese Gardeantioxidant-fruits.comng and writing on the Tinytrees Garden.

Do you have a personal fruit growing story to share?  We love guest posts so that we can share experiences of readers all around the world.  Please share yours by contacting us.

You can buy products that have chokeberries in them on Amazon.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit

How to Eat Dragon Fruit

dragon fruit how to eat it Dragon fruit is actually a type of cactus and is grown in South and Central America, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Israel. It is colorful with its tropical pink or reddish body with yellow and green tipped spines. The fruit’s skin is leathery red and inside of it you will find flesh with tiny seeds.

It is high in fiber as well as in vitamins B and C. The dragon fruit is one of the healthiest fruits that you can ever have. Most people describe its taste as something between a watermelon, a kiwi, and a pear.

It can be difficult to find dragon fruit as it grows only in a few countries and places. If you don’t live in one of the countries where it grows, then you will have to search for it in a foreign market or specialty market in your city and then how to eat dragon fruit.

Step by Step – How to Eat Dragon Fruit

How to Eat Dragon FruitOnce you have found a ripe dragon fruit how to eat it is the next thing to discover. Choose a ripe one by pressing its flesh with your fingers and see if it has a little give – but it shouldn’t be mushy or very soft. If it is too soft, then it is overripe and won’t be that good to eat. If it is too firm to the touch, then it is not yet ripe and you need to wait for few more days for it to be ready to eat. Never taste or eat a dragon fruit that has dark blotches, spots or dry spines because chances are, it is overripe and will not be any good.

  1. How to Eat Dragon Fruit How to Eat Dragon FruitCut the fruit in half. Use a sharp knife to cut it in half. When you have finally divided it, you will notice that its flesh is similar to a kiwi with a bright color (some have pink flesh whereas others have a white flesh) and tiny black edible seeds are distributed throughout the fruit’s flesh.
  2. Scoop the flesh. Run a spoon along its edges and slowly scoop underneath until the whole flesh is loosened. The flesh should easily separate itself from the skin if it is ripe. Otherwise, it will be hard to separate the flesh from the skin.
  3. Slice it. As the flesh is now detached from the skin, you can now put it on the cutting board. Turn the mound of flesh over and check for any residual skin and make sure you cut it off. It is not healthy to eat the skin as it is not easy to digest. Slice the flesh it into small bite sizes, in cubes, or in quarters. Do the same thing with the other half.
  4. Taste and eat the dragon fruit flesh. After cutting into pieces, you can now taste and eat the fruit. However, it is best to refrigerate dragon fruit. Its taste is best when it is deliciously cold. Never eat a dragon fruit’s skin. It is inedible and could give you a stomachache.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit If you are serving dragon fruit for a special occasion or a party, you can enhance the presentation by putting back the slices or cubes of dragon fruit flesh into the skin.  Other dragon fruit recipes might call for various sizes of the dragon fruit.

Eat the dragon fruit the same way you’d eat an apple or most other fruits. You can even combine it with other fruits so that you can serve a healthy fruit salad.

Where to buy Dragon Fruit Online.

Ripe Spring Peaches Picture

Ripe Spring Peaches Picture

Ripe Spring Peaches

Ripe Spring Peaches

Spring is only a few weeks away, and it’s time to start thinking about the planting season ahead.This lush peaches picture inspires an informational post for anyone interested in planting peaches.

Peaches are thought to originate in China and were most likely introduced into the West by the Romans. Today peaches are enjoyed in all parts of the world and can be easily introduced into a small garden. Though farmers’ markets are excellent sources of fresh fruit in the summer, dwarf peach trees can be accommodated in the backyard. They stay small, usually within seven feet in height and require only basic care such as pruantioxidant-fruits.comng and spraying for pests. Dwarf trees produce fruit sooner after planting than regular peach trees even though the fruits of both are the same size.

The best feature of growing a peach tree in the backyard is direct access to the fruit for canning and for delicious summer treats like peach pie, peach cobbler, and peaches and cream. A great crunchy peach cobbler recipe calls for:

  • 2 cups of sliced peaches (15 to 17 oz can)
  • 2 cups of sugar divided
  • a stick of butter sliced into pieces
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

The directions are also easy:

1. Preheat the oven to 350

2. In a 11×7 inch pan, place butter. Place the pan with the butter in the oven to melt.

3. While the butter is melting, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt (if you’re not using salted butter) in a bowl with the milk.

4. Remove the butter from the oven and pour the batter over the top, DO NOT STIR.

5. Combine remaining cup of sugar with the sliced peaches and spoon over the batter, liquid and all.

6. Bake for about 1 hour until it is golden brown, but check it around 50 min

7. Serve warm, cold, or with ice cream.

Reference: http://www.delange.org/PeachDwarf/PeachDwarf.htm

Here are some more great books with recipes for peaches:

Fruit of the Philippines – Aratilis

Fruit of the Philippines - Aratilis

Fruit of the Philippines – Aratilis

Fruit of the Philippines – Aratilis

Almost part of any Filipino childhood is eating the organic fruit snack, aratilis. Also known as the mansanitas (tiny apples) in my province, its scientific name is Muntingia calabura. It is small tree that grows about 7 to 12 meters. This makes it easy for children to reach up and grab its fruit or climb it. However, climbing is not advised because its branches are thin and can not bear weight well.

The aratilis is popular among Filipinos because it’s a ready-to-eat fruit snack. With juicy sweet pulp and miniature seeds that you can eat with each bite, it can be an addictive treat. Our common rivals for it are the fruit bats that often stay up in the tree at night.

Summer is often when the aratilis tree flowers and blooms. Much like the apple tree (or mansanas in Filipino), it starts off with green unripe fruit that’s hard and bitter and later on, it ripens to give you soft, ripe, red and juicy fruit.

Fruit of the Philippines - Aratilis

a.k.a. Mansanitas

Due to to the fructose content in its fruit, the aratilis is not only a source of happy summer moments but also of good energy and fun for children of all ages.

What fruit brings you back to happy childhood memories?

Fruit of the Philippines: Tambis

Fruit of the Philippines: TambisThe tambis or makopa (Syzygium samarangense) is one of those fruit that has many names. This causes quite a confusion because there are several varieties of the fruit. To my knowledge, there are three varieties found here. There’s the pink bell-shaped makopa, the green bell-shaped one and the oval-shaped tambis.

What we have growing on our front yard is the green one. The tree has grown a bit more than 20 feet and is well-loved by kids. This organic fruit snack is meaty with white pulp and its taste can be bland to juicy sweet.

Fruit of the Philippines: Tambis

The tambis grows from a regular lemon size to a mature kiwi fruit. It grows in singles, pairs, triplets and sometimes in clusters of four to six fruits. Our makopa is seedless. For added sweetness, we would normally water our tree with water laced with brown sugar.

Do you know of any dried fruit snacks made from this tropical fruit? We would love to know about it on Facebook or leave us a comment below.

Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia

Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated EncyclopediaVegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia

Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia” authored by Mathew Biggs, Jekka McVicar and Bob Flowerdew is a helpful guide for people who want to make their garden space useful by growing plants that promote good diet and perfect health. The authors penned how to choose the plants well that may yield a good harvest.

The encyclopedia is arranged with vegetables first in alphabetical order, followed by herbs and then fruit presented by fruit type like orchard fruit, soft, bush and cane fruit, tender fruit, shrub and flower garden fruits and nuts. You will also learn that there’s more to herbs other than just adding flavor and taste.

Other useful features of this handy book includes a maintenance calendar, detailed topics on greenhouse growing, hardiness zones, soil fertility and even seed sources. More so would be 800 colorful images that brings to life 70 vegetables, 100 fruits and over a hundred herbs with recipes for you to try. From methods of practical gardening, the procurement of seedlings to medicinal benefits, you will realize that it offers you the key to life’s longevity.

Grab a copy of the Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia on Amazon.com for $19.77 and let us know what you think of it. Share your review on Facebook or leave a comment below.