Project 366 – Post No. 160 – Chokeberry bumper crop

What is Project 366? Read more here!

Looks like the warm and sunny weather that did not arrive this summer has arrived in the eleventh hour of the summer. The beautiful weather was simply impossible to resist and we decide to go for a family walk in Whitemud park tonight. It was a sunny afternoon, the hot air balloons were out and the fitness buffs were out burning far too many calories far to fast. We did not see much in terms of birds other than around 50 crows gathering for the night. We came across a gentleman with a large bucket harvesting Chokeberries along the trail. The rainy summer has resulted in a bumper crop of all manners of berries, including the Chokeberries. The Chokeberry bushes were heavy of large, plump and ripe fruit. This is my first encounter with a plant that is native to North America but has been introduced in Europe. Usually the situation seems to be the other way around. Chokeberries can be processed into jam, syrup, tea and wine, but can also be eaten raw off the bush. We tried some fresh berries. The flavour was quite tart and made the mouth feel dry. Apparently the technical term for this sensation is astringency. It also turns out the fleshy part of the berry is pretty much the only part of the plant that is non-toxic. The rest of the plant, including the leaves, twigs, bark and the pit in the fruit are toxic and can cause cyanide poisoning in humans and livestock. As I was sampling the berry I recall being surprised at the size of the pit and I am happy that I decided to spit it our rather than consume it.

Ripe bumper crop of Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) in Whitemud park. September 5, 2019. Nikon P1000, 370mm @ 35mm, 1/60, f/5, ISO 400

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog ( Copyright Mario Pineda.