What is the use of chokeberry?
It is difficult to find a berry plant that is more suitable for our region, yielding equally useful fruits. This perennial shrub, 2-2.5 m high, requires minimal maintenance and, at the same time, has a consistently high yield.
If there is no chokeberry in your garden yet, be sure to plant at least a bush. This is a self-fertile plant that does not require cross-pollination, so you can grow only one bush and always have enough tasty, beautiful healing berries.
The correct name of the plant is chokeberry. Its closest relatives are pear and mountain ash. Chokeberry fruits are a real piggy bank of vitamins and microelements. The pulp contains vitamins C, B2, carotene, tocopherol, nicotinic and folic acids, as well as flavonoids with P-vitamin activity. In terms of the content of ascorbic acid, chokeberry surpasses many fruit plants, and in terms of the amount of vitamin P it generally takes the first place not only among fruit and berry crops, but also among vegetable crops. A daily intake of only 1 gram of fresh fruits of black mountain ash satisfies a person’s daily need for vitamin P. The combination of vitamins C and P in chokeberry fruits is very valuable in a therapeutic relation, since these vitamins are better absorbed in the presence of each other and mutually enhance the effect. They contain fruits and a significant amount of iodine. Only the subtropical fruit plant feijoa surpasses chokeberry in this. In addition, the fruits of black chokeberry also contain such vital trace elements as molybdenum, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Due to the combination of finely balanced nature in the fruits of chokeberry, there are a lot of biologically active substances, they have very valuable medicinal properties. Berries and juice from them are used for treatment and, which is especially important, for the prevention of hypertension and atherosclerosis. They are prescribed for gastritis with reduced secretory function, some vascular diseases, accompanied by increased permeability of the vascular wall (capillarotoxicosis, allergic vasculitis, measles, scarlet fever, eczema).
Reproduction and care of chokeberry
Amateur gardeners can propagate black chokeberry with rhizome offspring, which appear in May, and by autumn they form a root system and reach a height of 30-40 cm. You can propagate it by layers and seeds. The best soils for chokeberry are loamy and sandy loam. Layers are planted in the same way as currants, and the seeds are sown no later than mid-September.
It is better to sow freshly harvested seeds; during autumn sowing, stratification is not necessary. The seeds are buried 6-7 cm, laid on top with moist earth and mulched with humus or peat. Seeds sprout in May, until the seedlings get stronger, weeding, watering, loosening are necessary.
The root system of the chokeberry is well branched. Skeletal roots go to a depth of 1.5 m, but the bulk of the fibrous horizontal roots are located in the soil layer up to 40-50 cm. In very severe winter frosts, branches can freeze slightly, so it is better to bend the shoots before snow falls. Old bushes consist of 50-70 branches of different ages. But the greatest yield is given by branches of 7-8 years old, so the bush must be rejuvenated by cutting out old branches. Thinning the bush will avoid thickening and light-loving chokeberry will always give a bountiful harvest. In dry years, the berries become small and tough; if not frequent, but abundant watering should be arranged. Chokeberry is not demanding on soils, but does not like swampy and saline soils. Late flowering allows the plant to escape from recurrent frosts, therefore it bears fruit annually. Due to the shallow bedding of the roots, it is impossible to dig up the soil under the bushes.
Chokeberry fruits stick well to the branches and ripen at the same time, the entire crop is harvested in one go. Collect carefully, cut off only the stalks! With this harvest, the subsequent yield will be higher.
Employees of the Novosibirsk Fruit and Berry Experimental Station have developed recipes from mixtures of chokeberry and black currant juices with the addition of a small amount of sugar. The fact is that the vitamin value of black mountain ash increases significantly when consumed with foods rich in vitamin C.
How to harvest chokeberry?
Sort the berries, peel off the stalks, add water (100 g per 1 kg of berries) and heat to 60 degrees. At this temperature, keep the berries, stirring constantly for 20-30 minutes, until softened. Then pass through a meat grinder and squeeze the resulting gruel to obtain juice without pulp. You can make sweet juice. To do this, the washed berries are covered with granulated sugar at the rate of 1.5 kg of sugar per 1 kg of berries. Do the rest the same way.
Chokeberry water infusion
Pour 2-4 tablespoons with 2 cups of boiling water and insist in a thermos for 10-12 hours.
Spread the fruits in a thin layer and dry in the sun or in the oven at a temperature not exceeding 60 degrees. If dried correctly, the fruit turns cherry red. This indicates the preservation of vitamin R. If the dried fruits acquire a brown or red-brown color, it means that substances with P-vitamin activity have decomposed. Jelly and compotes are prepared from the dried fruits of the chokeberry. Mixing them with dried rose hips 1: 1, you can brew medicinal anti-sclerotic tea – delicious, aromatic, healthy.
As a medicine, chokeberry in any form is taken 20-40 minutes before meals. It is important to remember: the fruits of chokeberry are contraindicated in case of hypotension, in case of gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, in case of gastritis with high acidity.