The Goji Berry Plant: What Is It and Where Is It Grown?

Goji berries are touted as the “miracle berry” by famous celebs like Madonna and have topped the best selling items on Amazon in the berry category. But what makes them so special?

Often sold dried in bulk, or added to foods and drinks, the fruits from the goji berry plant are rich in vitamins and nutrients. Exactly what is this berry, where does it come from, and what does it taste like?

Read on to find out more about why this super fruit is taking the food world by storm!

Where Does the Goji Berry Plant Grow?

Also known as wolfberries, goji berries are native to China and the Himalayas. A member of the nightshade family and cousin to the tomato, gojis were discovered by Tibetans.

These reddish-orange berries are often found dried at supermarkets but have been part of the Asian diet for generations. Some believe the goji berry is the secret to longevity, and lore surrounding this tart fruit even claims it once granted immortality.

Goji is a staple in Eastern traditional medicine, used for a variety of ailments in the form of a tonic for blood or immunity. Some of these claims are supported by science, as goji is rich in antioxidants and beneficial nutrients.

What Does it Taste Like?

The flavor of goji berries can vary widely depending on the type, but most you find at the store will have a tart and slightly sweet berry flavor. Somewhere on the spectrum of cranberry and tart cherry in nature, goji berries can even have a slightly herbal taste.

Health Benefits

Goji berries have some of the highest naturally occurring antioxidant content, which means eating them can fight off free radical damage, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

They also have many vitamins and nutrients important for eyesight, liver function, skin elasticity, and more. Their high Vitamin C content can help boost the immune system, while the 18 amino acids they contain contribute to important body functions and health.

Some believe that a diet including goji berries may reduce blood pressure, lower heart risk, and even treat arthritis pain.

If you already have low blood sugar, be cautious about your goji berry intake. These fruits can have a positive effect on insulin production and blood sugar levels. Diabetics should consult with a doctor and check their blood sugar more often before incorporating goji into their diets.

Ways to Eat Goji

Dried goji berries are the most common outside of China, and can be eaten like a snack or added to a healthy trail mix for a great flavor. Use dried goji much in the way you would use raisins or dried cranberry. Try them sprinkled on a salad!

Fresh berries can be eaten like any other berry or added to other foods such as yogurt or ice cream. The juice from the goji berry can be added to teas, mixed juices, and even smoothies.

Cooking with goji can be done similar to cranberries. They are a good compliment to roast pork or turkey as a sauce, glaze, or salad.

A Healthful and Delicious Fruit

First records of the goji berry plant date back to 250 BC, and since then this tart little fruit shrub has been a healthy addition to the Chinese diet. Now popular in specialty stores and health food shops, goji has made a name for itself as a superfood.

This well-kept secret of Eastern medicine is now available for you to try today! Add goji berries to your favorite dishes and as a healthful snack to reap the benefits of this vitamin-packed fruit.

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