They are shaded by the house and a very large River Birch tree.
I went out to sample the berries in the middle of August and they seemed ripe. They were juicy and full size. The juice tastes sort of pleasant, with a very dry red wine mouth feel. The berry pulp is mealy and the skin is tough.
On August 20th, I went out to gather the berries from our shrubs.
Beware that your hands will get very stained.
Then I let the mash drain in a jelly bag.
I think you need to see the hands again.
If you want to drink the juice - I recommend a very small amount. I drank a bit out of a mini-cup:
I also froze cubes of the juice for smoothies:
I ate the jelly on pancakes and with almond butter in sandwiches. It's best mixed with something like almond butter because the jelly (like the juice and berries) is very mouth drying - like red wine.
One harvest of aronia berries made enough juice to last all winter. Keep in mind that I would not eat this everyday and will add it in very small quantities. I may or may not harvest them again, but am glad to have the experience if I need to eat them in the future. We'll see how I end up using it all this fall/winter.
This is the year of experimentation. I have grown things I've never grown before and eaten more "new foods" than at any other time in my life. I think the running tally of new (and mostly wild) foods is almost 20 as of August 2015.
I've cataloged 80 edible wild plant foods that grow within a one mile radius of my home. I am working on trying all of these plants and finding a way to economically incorporate them into our lives in case of emergency. Many require a ton of water and/or processing to be palatable/edible. I'm working out the kinks while we still have access to inexpensive water/electricity.
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