Aronia Jelly is the perfect way to use fresh Aronia berries in season. This antioxidant-rich jelly can also be made with store-bought aronia juice.
We grow aronia (Aronia melanocarpa) here on our homestead, and though they’re known as an antioxidant-rich superfood, it can be tricky to find ways to use aronia.
I do sometimes eat the fruit out of hand in the garden, but they’re tart and astringent, and you can only eat so many of them that way. I freeze them for smoothies too, but generally, that involves adding a lot of other sweet fruit for balance.
Homemade aronia jelly, on the other hand, has all the sweetness you need.
Beyond that, there’s something about the pectin that binds some of the compounds that make aronia berries astringent. As a result, aronia jelly is much less astringent than plain aronia juice or syrup. It’s one of my favorite ways to use our bumper crop of aronia berries each season.
(If you don’t grow your own aronia berries, you can also buy pre-made aronia juice for this recipe.)
Harvesting Aronia for Jelly
Aronia are a common wild fruit, and you can forage aronia (also known as black chokeberry) in the wild.
Be sure you’ve positively identified the fruit, and obviously, don’t harvest them or use them unless you’re 100% sure you have the right plant.
Looking at the blossom end of the fruit can help, as that’s pretty distinctive.
Ingredients for Aronia Jelly
This recipe should yield a batch of 4 to 5 half-pint jars (8 oz each) of aronia jelly.
- 4 cups aronia/chokeberry juice (purchased or extracted from 4 quarts of fruit)
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 box (1.75 oz) pectin (regular or low sugar)
If using fresh aronia berries, you’ll need about 4 quarts of fresh fruit to make 4 cups of juice.
Adding lemon juice is optional for this recipe. Aronia berries are quite acidic enough on their own, but if you wish to add lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the sugar or ensure the jelly sets, you can add anywhere between a tablespoon of lemon juice. Aronia doesn’t tend to need lemon juice for balance, so I don’t usually add that.
How to Make Aronia Jelly
You can use either aronia or chokeberry juice for this recipe, as well as frozen or fresh aronia berries of which you will extract the juice from.
If using fresh aronia berries, begin by first washing the berries and placing them in a large saucepan. Add in 4 cups of water and begin mashing the berries as you bring the pot to a simmer.
Simmer the aronia berries and water for at least 10 minutes. This will allow all the juices and flavors of the berries to impart into the liquid mixture.
Once the berries have sufficiently fallen apart and released their flavor, remove from heat and pour the mixture into a jelly bag. Let drain for at least two hours to strain the liquid from the mixture.
If you lack a jelly bag, you can use a fine mesh colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth to achieve the same result – although some squeezing may be necessary to collect all the juice.
After draining, you should find yourself with about 4 cups of aronia berry juice. If you’re a tad short, consider adding a little water or fruit juice to make up the difference.
Discard the berry remnants and pour the juice into a fresh saucepan and bring to a full boil. Once at a hard boil, add in your pectin (along with your lemon juice, if including any). Whisk to incorporate the pectin into the mixture. Keep at a rolling boil and boil for a full minute.
After boiling this mixture of liquid and pectin for a full minute, you may stir in the sugar. Return to a hard boil and boil for another full minute. Remove from heat and ladle into prepared jars.
Aronia Jelly Variations
Aronia jelly is delicious on it’s own, but you can change it up to make it your own with these variations.
Low Sugar Variation
This recipe has been written with a 1:1 water to sugar ratio, therefore you can use either low sugar or regular powdered pectin. The recipe can be altered to use less sugar, but if doing so be sure to use a low sugar pectin.
Consider using something like Sure Jel Low Sugar pectin, which can be used with as little as one cup of sugar – this jelly will be quite tart though. Consider using 2 to 3 cups for a jelly that is still mildly tart yet sweet.
Aronia berries make a spectacular jelly on their own, but perhaps you want to spice it up with the addition of some complementary ingredients.
Canning Aronia Jelly
If you’ll be using up your jelly in the next 6 months, you may not need to opt for canning. Aronia jelly can be refrigerated for up to 4 weeks and frozen for up to 6 months.
If freezing your jelly, be sure to use freezer-safe jars and leave additional headspace for the jelly to expand. Consider dating your jars as well so you know exactly how long they’ve been in there. Always allow the jelly to cool completely before storing in either the freezer or refrigerator.
If you want to store aronia jelly at room temperature or gift it, you’ll want to process it for canning.
Make sure to sterilize canning-approved jars and lids before beginning your jelly and prepare a water bath canner to be used as soon as the jelly is complete.
Once your jelly is ready, ladle into prepared canning jars, being sure to leave ¼ inch headspace. Clean the rims of residue to ensure a tight seal and apply 2-part canning lids, fastening tightly. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (or 15 minutes if above 6,000 feet in elevation).
Carefully remove your jelly and place on a towel. Check seals after 12 to 24 hours.
Properly sealed jellies will last 18 months when stored correctly. Refrigerate after opening.
Ways to Use Aronia Jelly
Aronia jelly has a slightly sweet, tart flavor. It can be simply spread on toast or muffins or incorporated into a glaze for meats such as duck and other game. Cheese and charcuterie boards alike will benefit from the addition of aronia jelly or simply pair with rustic bread and butter for a cozy snack.
Interested in dessert? Add this jelly to pastries for a tart yet fruity filling. Consider filling small turnovers or danishes with aronia jelly for a surprising flavor. Too warm out for baked goods? Try swirling aronia berry jelly with greek yogurt, honey, and fresh berries, then freezing to make cheesecake popsicles.
Looking for more ways to use aronia fruit?
Aronia jelly is a simple preserve that's easy to make with fresh aronia fruit or storebought aronia juice.
- 4 cups aronia/chokeberry juice (purchased or extracted from 4 quarts of of fruit)
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 box (1.75 oz) pectin (regular or low sugar)
To Extract Aronia Berry Juice:
- To extract the juice from fresh aronia berries, wash and place 4 quarts of fresh berries in a large pot. Add in 4 cups of water and slowly bring to a simmer. Mash the berries as the mixture heats using a potato masher or similar tool.
- Simmer the mixture for at least 10 minutes, allowing the berries to break down and impart their flavor into the liquid mixture.
- Once berries have fallen apart and released their juices, remove from heat and pour into a jelly bag to extract the juice. Allow to drain for at least two hours, squeezing if needed to release all the juice.
- You should find yourself with 4 cups of aronia berry juice. If somewhat short, consider adding a little water or fruit juice to make the full 4 cups.
To Make Aronia Berry Jelly:
- Prepare jars and lids. Preheat water bath canner if canning.
- Pour 4 cups of aronia berry juice into a fresh pot or saucepan. Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil and add in your pectin (and lemon juice if using), whisking or stirring to incorporate. Maintain a hard boil for one full minute.
- After this mixture of juice and pectin has boiled for a full minute, you may add in your sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return to a rolling boil and boil for another full minute. Remove from heat.
- Immediately spoon into prepared jars, leaving ¼ headspace. If refrigerating, allow jars to fully cool to room temperature before storing in the freezer or refrigerator. For canning, process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (or 15 minutes if above 6,000 feet in elevation).
To make a low sugar recipe, be sure to use a low sugar pectin such as Sure Jel Low Sugar and then you can reduce the sugar as much as you'd like. If using regular pectin, you'll need at least a 1:1 ratio of fruit juice to sugar to get the jelly to set.
Looking for more easy homemade jelly recipes?
Summer Fruit Canning Recipes
Putting up more fruit this summer? I have plenty of fruit canning recipes…