Native to Asia, goji berries are a staple of traditional Asian dishes!
From China to Japan, the fruit has also been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. Today, the berry is used in several health foods and alternative medicines, in addition to its continued use in a variety of meals!
A Traditional Berry
The goji berry, also sometimes referred to as the “wolfberry” or simply “goji”, is the fruit of two related species: Lycium chinense, and Lycium barbarum. Both plants produce slightly different fruit, and the berries can be separated by differences in sugar content and overall taste.
The fruit has been an important ingredient in several Chinese dishes, as well as in Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese medicine. It’s thought that the use of goji berries both in food and medicinally trace all the way back to the 3rd century Asia.
Today, it’s most common to find goji berries in their dried form. The berries are picked when ripe, then preserved by drying either in the sun or via factory methods of heat.
A Tart Berry
Similar to a cranberry, goji berries tend to be tart and sour, though slightly soft and chewy. When fresh, they have a fairly high water content; however, they can also be eaten dry as a snack.
The berries are typically bright orange or red in color and can be found on the branches of both the Lycium chinense or Lycium barbarum bushes.
A Superfood Dessert
With several health benefits, the goji berry has become a popular health-food snack. It’s often used as a topping for açaí bowls and is used in different trail mixes.
But there are tons of recipes that the fruit – dried, or fresh – can be used in! One such recipe is for raw vanilla goji berry balls.
Not only is this dessert sweet, but it’s also pretty healthy for you!
A Popular Health Food
In the last several years, people have been adopting the goji berry as a superfood. In fact, you may have heard about the goji berry in the news recently, as it’s been undergoing studies to show whether or not the fruit really does have the significant health benefits that people have been claiming.
For the last two decades, the goji berry has become more popular in North America, quickly gaining traction as an accessible health food. However, the history of the fruit’s medicinal uses goes back centuries for those countries in Asia where the plant originated.
The Medicinal Goji Berry
As noted, goji berries have been used in medicine for centuries now. Goji berries and goji berry-based products have become common as alternative medicine and health food staples.
The berries contain high levels of antioxidants and are considered to be incredibly nutritious. Packed with vitamins and minerals, the berry is also a source of protein and fiber, making it a well-rounded snack.
If you haven’t had the chance to try this unique fruit, give the goji berry a try! If you’re already familiar with the tart flavor and myriad health benefits, make sure to give some goji berry-based recipes a try.