Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Superfoods: Goji Berries

Goji Berries (01) by MeetaK

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.

Goji Berries (02) by MeetaK

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:


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!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

49 comments :

  1. That was a good read. A very informative post. Enjoy your vacation!!

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  2. Great to hear abt Goji berry..I havent ever caught a glimpse of it..will check out next time..:)..Thanks Meeta..:)

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  3. Im a big fan of these little power-pellets! I quite often mix them into my granola, or sneak them into muffins. Such an amazing superfood, that many people have never heard of. Great post!

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  4. Never heard of it, looks like dried Cranberries. Great post, Meeta!

    Have a great time in th! :)

    Weather is getting very warm here,not so good for allergy sufferers! Hope it rains soon.

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  5. A Chinese colleague of mine puts the goji berries in green tea, and it's lovely. The tea gets a mild sweetness from the berries, and they get rehydrated and plum. I really enjoyed it, and I encorage everyone to try.

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  6. Many people don't know that in a Chinese grocery store, dried goji berries are less than half the price that they get in the trendy markets.

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  7. check out www.tiemans.com, they have a great coffee fused with goji berries.. it's an awesome tasting coffee!

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  8. enjoy your vacation Meeta!

    :-)

    I loved reading about these berries and drooling at the pics :)

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  9. Have a grand time!
    Now I'm off in search of Goji Berries ;)

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  11. Excellent. Thanks for sharing some of the most fascinating information on Goji berries. I think I will be looking for them in the supermarket or farm from now on. Love trying new stuff!

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  12. hi meeta...
    thast new to me..very informative post..but i doubt whether u started getting them in India or not? need to chk!!

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  13. This is a very informative post, Meeta! Thank you!

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  14. helo this is nice post..thanks for sharing.keep ur good one.

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  15. Wow... all those fantastic properties!!! Nicer hair, higher libido... yeah a wonderful superfood. Have to check in the central market and see if I find some :D

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  16. Here's another thing I would like to try. I will make a mental note to get my hands on some if I ever come across them. Your pics make them look so delicious!

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  17. I did see these berries in a health shop, didn't buy them. THen i saw in Indian food rocks blog info about this berry.
    You have give a lot of info, i am gonna buy them newt time.
    ENjoy your holiday.

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  18. What an interesting and informative post. At first I thought these were the same as Chinese Red Dates that we get over here and which is used in soups and other dishes but I think perhaps not... I must have a look to see if we can get Goji's here!

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  19. Lovely post Meeta and its always interesting to know about 'foods one has no idea about' :) Have a wonderful vacation and can't wait to see whats the next theme for MM.

    Cheers,
    Siri

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  20. I feel like I've heard the term goji berries before, but I can't summon up any meaningful information, so lots of news to me. And great photos!

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  21. I believe that Chinese used goji berries in chicken soup with Chinese red dates as well... It's a tonic kind of soup ;-)

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  22. Wow what a post. Thanks for all the interesting info. I had some carob covered gojis the other day. they were great. Have a fantastic vacation!

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  23. Thank you for all your comments.

    I am glad this post has given more information to these wonderful berries. I also thank everyone who gave so many great tips on how to use, where to buy etc.

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  24. Have been curious about these for a while but didn't really look it up because of lack of availability. Now that I'm making a trip to usa I'm going to put these on my shopping list. You have a great week (I'm guessing in Doha :))!

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  25. I need to get these. I am seeing & hearing about the health benefits of these eveywhere. Love the pic. in the clear bowl.

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  26. Very informative! Where do you buy them? In food health stores?
    Thanks, Meeta!

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  27. This is my first time to your blog, it is really lovely and I will be back!

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  28. Wow, very informative post Meeta. Shall look out for these

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  29. Goji berries?noted,I'm on hunt for it now:)

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  30. Very interesting! I've never heard of these berries, until now. Thanks!

    Paz

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  31. Thanks for the great info on Goji Berries, Meeta. I've always wondered about how I can incorporate this into my diet and your post really helps a lot.

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  32. your photography is just amasing< turning the humble berries to a superstar!
    Meeta, have a great vacation!

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  33. I picked up some goji berries a while ago though I still have not tried them. I will have to get to it.

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  34. Hi Meeta, lovely to see your goji berries post and learn how to use goji berries in a non-chinese ways.

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  35. I love cooking with these! I always stock up on a few packets when I go home.

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  36. Great post. I've heard a lot about these berries but never tried them.

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  37. Thank you everyone! Appreciate all your comments and feedback! Goji berries are really the best. Stay tuned for my favorite goji berries recipe - coming soon!

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  38. Hi Meeta,
    I was delighted to discover this wealth of information about Goji Berries. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your link for a post I just did on Vitamin C.

    Thank you so much for sharing...

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  39. Excellent post about goji berry. Unlike any other superfood such as acai or noni, goji is not hard to come by and it comes cheap too.

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  40. Goji berry is a common Chinese herb. We add it to all types of soups, whether savory or sweet. We also add the berries to stir-fry vegetable dishes. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that the goji berries improve eye-sight.

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  41. Forgot to share a very simple goji berry sweet dessert with you. It's in soup form:

    Traditional Sweet Potato Soup

    Cube some sweet potatoes in big pieces - size of half a potato; add in screwpine leaves (also known as pandanus leaves), a thumb-size piece of crushed ginger. Boil for 20 mins until sweet potatoes are softened. Add in 2 tablespoons of goji berries and enough rock sugar (it's Chinese sugar for cooking with herbs/soups). Serve warm or cold.

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  42. One fruit juice company just launched a new line which they had touted as being filled with power berries. And because they have been drumming it into the consumer’s head, ie, mine… I cannot get the name “Acai berries” out of my head.

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  43. Goji berry sorbet sounds delicious? Do you have a recipe? I have never made sorbet before...

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  44. You know what goji berries remind me of?

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berberitze

    European barberry...maybe they are both barberrys?

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  45. Goji berries are gaining a lot of popularity due to their endless benefits. Some people like to eat dried goji berries while others like to have in the juice form. If you are wondering how to grow goji berries, read the following tips and grow them without any hassles.

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  46. @Vegancat: they're not both barberries, "Goji berry" is just an exotic name for "Wolfberry" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry) :)

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta