Goji berries, also called wolf berries, come from Northern Asia, mainly grown in Tibet. They come in dried form, much like cranberries or raisins – but have a rough texture and tart, smoky flavor. Don’t let their tough exterior fool you, these little wrinkled berries are seriously beauty food. They have 20 times the antioxidant power of prunes (that already rank extremely high in antioxidants, containing over 3 times more than blueberries). While they can be costly (these little gems usually range from $6 to $8 dollars a bag which has about 2 cups), they are a powerhouse of nutrition. Goji berries are rich in many nutrients, including 19 amino acids, 5 essential fatty acids – including Omega 3 – just to name a few. They also have 15 times the amount of iron per 100 grams which is about 1/2 cup.
Goji berries have a long history in Chinese medicine as being a cure all. Repudiated to improve circulation and even enhance libido, it’s no wonder they’re so popular! One thing is for certain, gojis have more antioxidants than any other food. High in carotenoids, that include beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene, they provide a combo of powerful antioxidants, which aid in protecting your cells from free radical damage that may cause premature aging, cancer, and a host of other health problems.
How to Cook with Goji Berries
Goji berries are less moist than other forms of dried fruits though you can use them in recipes that call for dried cherries or cranberries. If the dry texture troubles you, soak berries in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes.
Pink or dusty rose in color, goji berries tend to be less sweet than other dried fruits but don’t let that stop you from adding them to desserts – they are perfect served in moist rice pudding, tea cakes, and even sprinkled on frozen yogurt. Add them to sautéed spinach with caramelized onions for an extra boost of iron. Stir gojis into your party mixes, granola, and soups for extra nutrition and antioxidant punch. Try adding them to pasta with walnuts and goat cheese for more texture and tang.