A berry reckoned to be the healthiest fruit in the world will soon be available in Britain’s shops for the first time.
The aronia is a ‘superfood’, richer in anti-cancer antioxidants than raspberries and more modern imports such as the goji and acai.
It even has three times the level of antioxidants found in blueberries. Now a six-year plan by Marks & Spencer to cultivate the berries in Scotland has come to fruition and they will be in its stores from Monday.
The plant is native to North America, where early settlers gave it the name ‘chokeberry’ because it is so sharp when eaten raw.
The aronia berry – which is similar in appearance to a cranberry – is also said to help ward off heart disease.
American Indians believed it was a good aphrodisiac.
The introduction of the aronia berry has also been influenced by Britain’s influx of East European migrants.
Because it needs damp, mild conditions in which to grow, it has long been popular in Poland and makes it an ideal crop for parts of Scotland.
Demand from Britain’s growing Polish population is believed to be a reason for introducing it here.