Acai berries are often only found in smoothies or power bowls in Canada, simply because the small dark purple berries are very fragile and native to Central and South America. This means that they are shipped to us frozen, but it is well worth it as the Acai berry is a nutrition-packed superfruit that has ten times the antioxidant power of red grapes and twice of that of blueberries. What most people don’t realize is that the very decadent hint taste these tiny blackberries work very well in desserts and when you bake them or whip them up in a dessert, they turn a gorgeous and very festive crimson color. The taste of acai berries has been compared to a fermented blueberry with a slight back taste of cocoa.
The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Acai
The Acai berry is so nutritious that it has been known to sustain the indigenous peoples of the Amazon through times of famine. Another surprising nutritional fact about Acai is that it contains more protein than an egg as well as Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. It is a whole food. In fact, 7.59% of the weight of the Acai pulp is from amino acids. A total of 19 different amino acids have been identified as part of the nutritional profile of Acai. Acai is also a source of three beneficial plant sterols. B -sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol help maintain a healthy heart and digestion
Acai berries also have a very high rating on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score. The ORAC scale is a measure of antioxidant power. While prunes have traditionally topped the fruit list at 5,770 units per 100g, the Acai has now shot past at about 18,500 units per 100g and up to 50,000 units when freeze-dried. Scientists recommend we consume between 3,500 and 6,000 ORAC units daily to neutralize aging free radicals.
Healthy Holiday Desserts Using Acai Berries
Acai Christmas Pudding
This is a dark rich pudding using raw Acai pulp that helps take some of the sweetness out of the pulp.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
finely grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup golden sugar
2 eggs separated
3/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup Acai Pulp
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the butter, zest, and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add egg yolk one at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition. Fold flour in gradually add milk. Combine and whisk lightly.
Add the lime juice. It is normal for the mixture to appear slightly curdled.
Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into the pudding batter. Pour batter into 1 cup ramekins and place on a baking tray. Bake for fifteen minutes or until golden brown on top.
Let cool and then serve with a dollop of yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream on top.
This dish looks nice garnished with Acai berries or lemon and lime slices. It is delicious served cold as well.
Acai Crumble with Pears
This is a superfruit variation on the traditional apple crumble and it can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
1/2 cup Acai fruit pulp
6 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
5 tbs honey
½ cup almonds, hazelnuts or pecans
1/3 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup plain flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp butter, cubed
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cloves
Dash of nutmeg
Whipped cream or full-fat cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease an ovenproof dish. Combine Acai pulp, pears and honey and spread out in the dish.
Melt the butter and honey and spices and drizzle over the crumble mixture
Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.
This is a nutritious breakfast if you sprinkle it with wheat germ and add milk instead of whipped cream.
Acai Fruit Pannacotta
The deep black color of the Acai berry used in this dessert results in a violet colored pannacotta.
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Acai juice
1/3 cup cane sugar
2 tbsp sugar cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Acai fruit pulp
1 tbsp gelatin
1/4 cup hot water
Place cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir on low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and cook until just simmering. Remove from heat. Stir in Acai juice and set aside.
Whisk gelatin and hot water together. Add whipped cream and blend. Let cool and pour into pannacotta molds.
Cool in refrigerator for at least ten minutes before serving. Add a dollop of raw Acai pulp or a couple of raw berries on the side for enjoying with the pannacotta.
This is a dish that is easily molded onto a plate. Either copper or ceramic dishes make nice pannacotta molds.
At the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre we believe in living a healthy lifestyle and eating well. We offer blood testing analysis, IV vitamin therapy and many types of natural weight loss care. For more information about diets, naturally boosting your immunity or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at http://www.pinewoodhealth.ca. You can also call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100 or our office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at email@example.com and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.
Acai. The Big Picture. Power Supplements, http://www.powersupplements.com/Acai/Acai.html
D4clinic. Superfruits to help in the battle to prevent cancer, http://www.d4clinic.ie/d4_clinic_news
Katerine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., What are Acai berries and what are their possible health benefits?, Nutrition and Healthy Eating.http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/Acai/AN01836 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/Acai/AN01836.
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
At the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre we believe in living a healthy lifestyle and eating well. We offer blood testing analysis, and many types of natural weight loss care. For more information about diets, naturally boosting your immunity or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at http://www.pinewoodhealth.ca. You can also call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100 or our office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.