Goji Berries [pronounced: go-gee ber-reze] are the current rage right now. Although these delicate berries are being increasingly hailed as a superfood and Hollywood starlets and celebrities seem to have found the berries' anti-aging benefits, goji berries have been eaten as a nutritionally rich food in China for around 2000 years.
These bright red berries are sometimes called 'wolfberries', 'Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree' or 'Matrimony Vine" and have a woody taste - a bit like cranberries or raisins. They are cultivated worldwide, with most imported from the Tibetan plateau and China.
Goji berries are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals, so it's no wonder that some marketing claims that these are the most nutritionally rich fruit available. Don't be surprised when you go to purchase them, being the hottest trend you'll find all sorts of advertising for the berries. Natural food stores, organic shops or well sorted grocery stores will have goji berry products available. Juices, health bars or granola are popular products that incorporate the goji berry, however, I prefer the goji berries in their dried form.
Goji berries are a deep, brick red color and are commonly purchased dried. Goji's are leaner than a dried cranberry or raisin just little less moist, they are also similar in size with a slightly elongated shape. The berries are very flavorful eaten straight from the bag with a taste that is sweet without being too sweet, tart without being puckery and a slight bitter note.
Health Benefits of Goji Berries
The nutrient wealth of Goji berries has made the healthcare industry appreciate its significance. The berries have become a favorite natural nutrition supplement among health conscious people. Currently the goji berries are considered to be the most nutritious food source on the planet - a superfood. The goji berry is well known for its anti-oxidant properties and if consumed on a regular basis they prevent aging and prolongs life.
Goji berries are packed with many beneficial properties and nutrients. These powerhouse berries are very high in antioxidants, full of essential minerals and amino acids, some of which the body is unable to produce on its own. It also contains 4 unique polysaccharides, which are complex carbohydrates needed in order for our bodies to grow and thrive.
Furthermore, it has been observed that people consuming Goji berries on a regular basis noticed other benefits such as better eyesight, great hair color, improved libido, improvement in mood, more quality sleep, a definite enhancement in their energy levels, and over all a brighter outlook on life.
Shopping and Storing
To get the fullest benefits goji berries offer I would recommend going for either the goji berry juice or even better the dried goji berries. The juices are a great choice but make sure you read the ingredients list prior to buying. Often the juice is a blend of other fruit juices, with the actual amount of goji berry juice being extremely low. If you cannot find 100% goji berry juice look for juice blends that have a higher content of goji berry juice in it. Store the juice in a refrigerator and keep an eye on the expiry date.
I often only buy dried goji berries as I prefer the versatility of the berries. If you can, go for the organic variety then you know that you are getting a very good quality product. I store my dried goji berries in Ziploc bags or Weck jars in my cool and dry pantry. Dried goji berries have a longer shelf life than the juice and a 300g bag lasts me about 3 to 4 weeks.
Using Goji Berries
Dried goji berries a very versatile and can be used for all sorts of dishes. You can use the dried goji berries as you might other dried fruit. They can be tossed in salads, in warm or sautéed greens, baked into muffins and cakes, chopped into pancakes or waffles. Rehydrate them and stir them into yogurt, ice creams and other desserts. I love making a goji trail mix with dried goji berries, cashews and other seeds for Soeren to snack on at school. They also are the perfect nerve food for me at work!
Goji juice can be used as you would any other fruit juice. I've made goji sorbet, smoothies and milkshakes with the juice.
Later this month I will share with you my favorite goji berry breakfast - something I enjoy at least 3 times a week! Stay tuned for that!
WFLH Food Guide focus on:
Goji berry recipes from around the blogs:
- Granola bars - Tasty Palettes
- Cranberry and Goji Berry Chutney - Whole Foods Recipes
- Goji n Berry Linzer Cookies - Organic Goodness
I am off on a short break next week - flying off to warmer parts of the world for sun, sand and shopping (and a lot more)! I've scheduled a post for the weekend announcing the new theme for the Monthly Mingle , this time with a chance to win a great prize again! So make sure you check that out. Otherwise I'll see you when I return - TTFN!
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