Kitchen Tips

Getting to Know Goji Berries

Getting to know Goji berries

Image Courtesy: miheco used under the Creative Commons Licence

In the subtropical regions of China, Tibet and Mongolia, there are evergreen shrubs dotted with lavender flowers which produce bright orange-red berries. These berries are known as goji berries, and they have been grown in the Himalayan valley for hundreds of years. With the appearance of shrivelled red raisins, goji berries have a long history of use in Chinese medicine, earning them the title “superfood”. Along with mangosteen, tart cherries and noni juice, goji berries have been long-marketed as an antioxidant.

It is easy to identify goji berries, commonly known as wolfberries. They have a mild tangy taste which is slightly sweet and sour. The whole dried berry has a similar shape and chewy texture as a raisin.

Although goji berries are common only in Chinese cuisine in certain regions, they are handy to have around, as they can be combined sparsely with chicken or pork-based dishes, and fried vegetables. Goji berries are also eaten raw, brewed into tea, added to Chinese soups or made into liquid extracts. Juice from these berries can be used in smoothies, while the whole berries are sometimes used as an ingredient in packaged snack food such as wolfberry trail mix.

Goji berries are also specifically produced for combining with the ingredients which go into the making of various wines. A combination of wolfberries and grapes are said to produce better wines.

They have become a hot commodity in the health-food market. The most popular goji berry products are – woflberry juice and wolfberry extract (available in a capsule form), wolfberry crunch bars and granola cereals with wolfberries.

Young goji berry shoots and leaves are also harvested as leafy vegetables which go into salads and certain types of medicinal broth.

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