As summer draws to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a perfect time to stock up on the last of the season’s berries, whether you aim to eat them all in one sitting or to freeze a few pints for the colder months. It’s also a perfect time to fantasize about some of the world’s rarer and more unusual berry species!
While some berries (like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) are common on supermarket shelves around the world, there are many other berries that, while edible, are not so well-known. If you’re lucky, you might find a few of these berry types at a local farmers’ market. However, many of them are difficult to cultivate and can only be gathered wild, while others are famed in their home territory but nowhere else.
(For the sake of this article, we’re going to use the layman’s definition of “berry”—a small roundish juicy fruit—instead of the technical botanical definition. Did you know that, botanically speaking, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are not berries—while bananas and pumpkins technically are berries? This is a great fact to mention during awkward lulls in conversation, if you want people to look askance at you.)
Read on to learn more. Have you sampled any of these uncommon fruits, or would you like to? Tell us in the comments!
1. Chokeberry (Aronia) — above
Chokeberries grow throughout eastern North America. They are not often eaten raw because of their mouth-drying astringency, but may be made into delicious wine, jam, syrup, or juice. They’re also very high in antioxidants.