Never heard of it?
Actually that’s no surprise.
This small, red, cherry like fruit, is native to the West Indies.
And now grown in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
It's harder to find in the U. S. than a steak at a vegetarian’s BBQ.
This little super fruit happens to be one of the richest natural source of vitamin-C in the world.
This means that this fruit can benefit the body in a variety of ways.
From fortifying the immune system to helping prevent age related conditions.
Like heart disease and cancer.
In Puerto Rico and even the warmer states such as Florida.
People grow these super berries in their backyards.
One variety is quite sweet and can eaten like grapes.
Another variety is lip-smackingly tart, but even higher in vitamin-C.
It’s often made into jams, jellies, and juices.
Many of us step up our consumption of orange juice or grapefruit halves at the first sign of the sniffles.
It makes sense.
Because vitamin-C, found in citrus fruits, helps to relieve cold symptoms.
People in the Caribbean or West Indies might pop a few fresh super berries to head off illness.
A single super berry provides 80 milligrams of vitamin-C, 133 percent of the Daily Value.
To put this in perspective, an entire orange has about 70 milligrams.
Even guava, one of the richest natural sources of vitamin-C, can’t compete.
One berry contains almost 10 times more vitamin-C than a similar amount of guava.
The benefits of vitamin-C go beyond relieving cold symptoms.
This super berry, or fruit, also helps the body make collagen.
A tough, fibrous protein that helps build connective tissue, skin, bones and teeth.
And plays a role in wound healing.
Vitamin-C also helps protect the body from free radicals.
Cell-damaging oxygen molecules.
Thought to contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease and many other conditions.
In the Kitchen
This super berry isn’t "commercially" available in this country.
So, most cooks aren’t sure how to use it.
But, if you’re lucky enough to have some growing in your backyard, here are a few tips for getting it ready.
You can use fresh Acerola just as you would other types of berries.
Try in jellies, jams, pies, or other fruit desserts.
If you happen to buy the tart variety, use a lot of sweetener to keep your mouth from puckering.
You can crush dried Acerola with a rolling pin.
Then add it in small amounts to pies, preserves, or fruit butters.
It'll keep for months when stored in a tightly covered glass jar.
As long as you periodically check for and discard berries that are moldy.
Getting The Most
Enjoy the sweet taste.
The tart varieties of this super berry contain more vitamin-C than their sweeter kin.
It hardly matters because the sweet fruit also contains a huge amount of vitamin-c.
Buy it processed.
Specialty markets in Puerto Rico carry Acerola jams, jellies and juices.
Though they contain somewhat less vitamin-C than the fresh berries.
They’re still a very good source.
These products keep from 60 to 80 percent of their original vitamin-C.
Treat the berries gently.
Dried and crushed Acerola berries can be used to make tea.
Boiling or steeping the berries in hot water can reduce the amount of vitamin-C by about half.
So, to get the most vitamin-C per cup, you may want to add extra berries.
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