A few years ago, goji berries were pretty ‘fringe’. Now, we are seeing them in recipes and food products, as they truly are a very nutrient-dense “super food”!
How are they so special? To start, gogi berries are very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are measured by a scale called the ORACtest. The ORAC value for gogi berries is usually over 20,000 (depending on variety) – compared to 2,400 for blueberries (which are well known for their high antioxidant level)!
Next, these little berries are protein-rich. They offer 18 amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids that make up a complete protein. Yup, folks, gojis will ‘pump you up’!
Goji berries are also quite rich in Vitamin A (which, among other things, is good for fighting viral infections). In fact, just 1 ounce of these berries (that’s about 2 1/2 – 3 tbsp) will give you 140% of the RDA for Vitamin A!
And, if that wasn’t enough to convince you of goji’s star power, they are also a better source of vitamin C than oranges, and deliver trace minerals including iron and zinc.
These berries resemble raisins in size, but with a flattened shape and dusty pink-red color. Their texture is chewy and slightly soft (though some brands may be softer and fresher than others). Goji berries may be somewhat of an acquired taste for some – they were for me. They aren’t as sweet as other dried fruit like raisins, or other dried berries like blueberries. At first, I was underwhelmed with their flavor, and wasn’t sure if I would use them much. I still don’t always eat them straight up, but do enjoy working them into snacks and recipes. Here are some ideas to include goji berries in your daily diet, starting with…
- blend into smoothies, especially delicious in my Strawberry Goji Smoothie (get recipe)!
- add to cold and hot cereals
- mix into non-dairy yogurt
- sprinkle in green salads (in place of dried cranberries)
- add to homemade jams and also chutneys
- use in place of raisins and dried cranberries in sweet recipes like muffins, scones, quick breads, granola bars, and cookies and in savory dishes like pilafs, and rice, grain, and bean salads (try substituting just partially at first)
- add to your favorite trail mix (or buy trail mixes including goji berries)
- use in your granola recipe in place of raisins or other dried fruit (add right at end of baking, else they will burn). If you have Let Them Eat Vegan, you can make this scrumptious and healthy granola:
Do you like goji berries? How do you eat/prepare them?