Thirsty Thursday – Aronia Berry Milkshake

Yesterday evening I went on a supermarket run to get potatoes. They were out of the ones I wanted, but instead I left with 10 kilos of onions (they were on special offer! 2 five kilo bags for only £3.50, how could I refuse??), 3 litres of organic cider (also on offer) and a punnet of aronia berries, marked down at the end of the day from £2 to 20p.

dark round berries on a plate

I have never, to my knowledge, eaten an aronia berry before. These were grown in Scotland, so no worries about air miles, but for an unusual ingredient they were sparse on recipe suggestions on the pack, just telling me they work well cooked. So, completely ignoring that, I ate a couple raw. They were a bit weird, I have to say. They have a definite ‘hedgerow’ flavour eaten out of hand. I thought I’d bung some in a milkshake to use them up.

I used around half of the 250g punnet, and to thicken and sweeten it a bit I added 6 dried apricots. Because I forgot to refill the ice-cube tray I used a few chunks of frozen rhubarb, and blended it all up with 3/4 pint or so of unsweetened soya milk.

purple drink in glass on green background

On first taste the flavour of the berries came through in a rather bitter way, and I thought I’d just wasted a load of ingredients, but I’m glad I gave it a second sip, because once you get used to it it’s fine, rather pleasant in fact.

Aronia are alternatively known as chokeberries because of their astringent qualities, and they do produce a slightly unusual sensation of dryness in the mouth, but it’s bearable, and after a while the taste is reminiscent of black cherries.

Apparently, aronia are sometimes found in ornamental planting schemes on municipal land. I don’t think I would buy these at full price, but now I know what they look like I’ll be keeping my eye on the hedgerows!