Goji Berry, also known as wolfberry, is a bright-orange berry with a taut shiny skin that is about 1/2 inch in length with an oval shape, but as they are grown in China mostly and quite fragile they are often shipped to Canada dried. When dried they resemble very large red or red-to gold colored raisins and they have a chewy texture like raisins, only with a slightly tangier taste. The raw berries, by contrast, have a very tangy sour taste profile and are quite expensive and are usually used as garnishes for desserts and cocktails, but if you decide to make a dessert with them, you are serving your guests a very exotic treat, that is made even more special by the fact that the fruit is considered to be a symbol of prosperity in China.
The Nutritional Benefits of Goji Berries
Goji berries contain selenium, a trace mineral that acts an antioxidant, which can neutralize free radicals that damage cells and cause cancer. Goji berries are also rich in other nutrients and phytochemicals like amino acids, cell sugars, carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, polysaccharides, antioxidants, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and riboflavin. Like many fruits that excellent for health Goji Berries also contain a high level of protein. Protein makes up almost 16 percent of the fruit’s composition.
Festive Goji Berry Recipes
Goji Orange Granita
This is a lovely cooling palate refresher packed with Vitamin C.
(serves 4 – 6)
Chilling Time 13 hours or more
3/4 cup sugar
Juice of one fresh lemon
1 cup fresh minced Goji fruit
1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed from four to five oranges
Make syrup by combining sugar, lemon juice, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then bring to a boil.
Mix the Goji fruit, juice and syrup and put it in a plastic container with a tight lid. Freeze for three hours and then use a fork to break up frozen crystals. Freeze again for another three hours and break up the crystals once again. Freeze again and break the crystals up. Then leave the granita to freeze completely overnight.
This dish is augmented by a garnish of mint, lemon, and a few whole raw berries.
You can give this dish an even more exotic flavor or color by using pale orange mandarins or blood oranges as the juice in this recipe.
Goji Ginger Pears
Fresh Goji Berries are used in a twist in this classic recipe for spiced boiled pears.
5 very firm pears, peeled and sliced
3 cups apple cider
3 teaspoons fresh ginger root, chopped
10 finely chopped raw Goji Berries
3 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp almond extract
1 ounce Cognac
Dash of salt
Place pears in a saucepan with chopped raw Goji Berries, apple cider, cognac, ginger root, vanilla and dash of salt. Boil and reduce and then simmer the pears until a syrupy clear sauce results.
Serve warm or cold
A topping of vanilla ice cream with crushed pecans goes nicely on this dessert. It also goes well with crumbled goat cheese.
Old Fashioned Goji and Raisin Pie
This is a traditional raisin pie with the addition of Goji Berries. Your family will not know that you have hidden so much nutrition into such a tasty dessert.
Pastry for a nine-inch double crust pie.
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried Goji Berries
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs white vinegar
2 tbs salted butter
Combine raisins and Goji Berries in a saucepan and boil until berries are swollen. Add brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Cook and until syrup is clear. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vinegar.
When the mixture is cool, pour into a pastry lined pan and cover with the top crust. Seal the edges and cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
This pie is great all on its own but the addition of vanilla yogurt is also delicious. This pie may also be served with a slice of gourmet cheese like Oka or Harvarti.
Goji Berry, Agriculture Information. http://www.agricultureinformation.com/forums/sale/108647-goji-berry-seeds-plants-sale.html
Rebecca Cannon, (11 January 2008). Superfoods to the Rescue, http://pshep.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/superfoods-to-the-rescue/Natural Products Marketplace (Virgo Publishing). Retrieved March 23, 2013, 7:15 am.
Lindsey Duncan, ND, CN, So What’s So Good About Acai? A Whole Lot. The Dr. Oz Show. http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/lindsey-duncan-nd-cn/so-whats-so-good-about-Acai-whole-lot. Posted May 24, 2011
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