PASSIONATE RATIONS

food and sundries

Goji Berries:  High in Iron, Not so High in Taste

Filed under: Uncategorized — April 5, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

“What is that, cat food?” I asked, referring to the plastic bag of reddish-colored bits on my colleague’s desk.

“No.  They’re Goji berries,” she responded.  “High in iron.  I’m going to see if they work for the blood drive.”  She, apparently, had just missed the blood-iron level required to donate blood.

“Want to try one?”

Never one to pass up a new food experience, I nodded.  Picking up the bag—a small zip-loc with a “Whole Foods” label emblazoned “Goji Berries”—I poured some of the oblong, red-colored dried berries into my hand.

According to my research, Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet.  They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family. (I thought nightshades were poisonous—they sound poisonous.  Obviously, I was mistaken).  The berries are high in anti-oxidants and have been used in Asia for thousands of years to promote health, including liver function and fertility.  The berries and juice are marketed world wide as health and/or snack products.  I have learned that Trader Joe’s sells a Goji berry trail mix.

Despite this long and apparently esteemed history, I have to say that, as a food (as opposed to medicine), they are lacking.  As my colleague put it, “they taste like raisins that have turned.”  And they are very, very dry—like eating bark mulch from your garden.

As medicine, though, they are comparatively tasty.

3 Comments »

  1. Honey:

    Not all nightshades are poisonous. Other friendly members of thesolonaceae/nightshade family include tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers and potatoes. Yummy yummy nightshades!

  2. feralkevin:

    All the goji berries I’ve had tasted really good. A mellow sweetness mixed with that unique Solanaceae flavor. And yeah, nightshades get a rep in many circles. But I love them for the awesomeness of the foods that Honey mentioned in the previous comment. The goji berries I’m growing in my garden aren’t very vigorous, although one of them is about to push out a late flower.

    feralkevin

  3. Bea:

    Well written article.

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