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Açaí Berries



Açaí Berries grow on a tropical palm tree called the Assai Palm.

The tree grows 50 to 100 feet (15 to 30 metres) tall, with leaves up to 10 feet (3 metres) long.

Açaí Berries have a very dark purple, almost black, skin. There is very little pulp inside; about 90% of the inside of the berry is taken up by the single large seed in the middle.

The berries aren't eaten fresh out of hand. Instead, they are pressed most often for pulp. The seeds can also be pressed for juice if they are soaked in water first to loose the thin shell on them.

The dark purple juice has a rich flavour, in which some people feel they can also taste tones of chocolate.

Açaí Berries have a very short storage life after picking, and don't ship well. Consequently, they go straight from picker to processor for products.

Brazil produces 85% of the world's supply of Assai pulp. It is also exported from Costa Rica, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

Cooking Tips

Açaí Berry pulp can be used in ice cream, yoghurts, sweets, granola bars, etc. It is also used as a condiment with some savoury dishes.

Nutrition

Açaí Berry juice is reputed by its promoters to have twice the anti-oxidants that blueberries do.


However, a University of California study challenged this [1], list the following "juices" from highest to lowest in anti-oxidant levels:

  1. Pomegranate juice
  2. Red wine
  3. Concord grape juice
  4. Blueberry juice
  5. Black cherry juice
  6. Acai juice
  7. Cranberry juice
  8. Orange juice
  9. Iced tea beverages
  10. Apple juice

It has no magic weight-loss properties, despite what celebrities say. [2]

Sources

[1] Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States.

Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, Henning SM, Feng L, Dreher M, Heber D. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2008 Feb 27;56(4):1415-22. Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

[2] "The Center for Science in the Public Interest said companies offering free trials of diet pills made with the acai berries have bilked thousands of consumers using fake celebrity endorsements and blogs to lure customers. Claims of weight loss are unfounded, said the CSPI. There's no evidence whatsoever to suggest that acai pills will help shed pounds, flatten tummies, cleanse colon, enhance sexual desire, or perform any of the other commonly advertised functions.." -- "Young, Saundra and Madison Park. Group challenges acai berry weight-loss claims. CNNHealth.com. 23 March 2009.

Berries

Açaí Berries; Akala Berries; Aronia Berries; Baba Berries; Barberries; Berries; Bilberries; Black Currants; Black Gooseberries; Blueberries; Buffalo Currants; Bumbleberries; Cape Gooseberries; Cloudberries; Cranberries; Devil Spits Day; Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show; Elderberries; Garden Huckleberries; Gooseberries; Haw Flakes; Hawthorne Berries; Huckleberry; Hudson Bay Currants; Jostaberries; Lingonberries; Mulberries; Otaheite Gooseberry; Raspberries; Red Currants; Saskatoon Berries; Sea Buckthorn; Serendipity Berries; Strawberries; Sunberries; Tayberries; Thimbleberries; Ugni; Waimate Berries; White Currants; Wineberries; Wonderberries; Worcesterberries

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Also called:

Assai Berries; Euterpe oleracea (Scientific Name)

Citation

Oulton, Randal. "Açaí Berries." CooksInfo.com. Published 13 August 2005; revised 05 January 2010. Web. Accessed 12/12/2017. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/acai-berries>.

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