Dried goji berries look like oversized red raisins. What’s so special about these chewy, sweet-tart berries? They are indigenous to parts of Asia, particularly the Himalayan mountain region of Tibet, where they’ve been used for thousands of years for medicinal and spiritual purposes. That is why it is rare to see fresh goji berries in the U.S. Here, you’ll most commonly find them dried or as berry powder, both of which you can buy at health food stores and, increasingly, at well-stocked supermarkets. Dried berries have a distinct flavor reminiscent of a cranberry or a sour cherry.
You can cook with dried goji berries in both sweet and savory recipes. The easiest way to get started is to use dried berries the way you would use raisins. That means putting them in baked goods like cookies, on top of your morning oatmeal or porridge, in trail mix, or by the handful as a snack. You can also soak dried berries in hot water for a few minutes until they’ve softened. When rehydrated, the goji berries taste almost like a sweet cherry tomato.
Fold the hydrated berries into spiced rice and grain pilafs, salsas, chili, or anything else that could benefit from a dose of goji’s slightly sweet flavor. You can also blend a spoonful of soaked berries into smoothies, tomato sauces, or frozen desserts like ice cream and popsicles for a flavor and nutritional boost. Some people find dried berry powder easier to incorporate than the berries when preparing smoother foods like sauces, salad dressings, and smoothies.
Like all berries, goji berries pack a big dose of phytochemicals, which are compounds found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other plant-based foods that protect against various diseases and cancer. They’re also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron, and contain all of the 8 essential amino acids humans we don’t produce naturally and need to get from food. A 1-ounce serving of goji berries contains 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
In a 12 oz. glass of water or a juice bottle add one handful of Goji Berries and let them sit and hydrate for a few minutes or all day as you drink your own Goji Berry juice. Chewing the berries as you drink is a wonderful experience with four grams of fiber per handful. It is a great pick-me-up between meals and the most delightful way to enjoy a glass of water.
Goji Fruit Juice
This is a unique experience in phyto nutrient energy that you feel throughout your body; a buoyant lift that fills you with joy and feeds you right down to a cellular level! Blend together equal amounts of Goji Berries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, raspberries and blackberries. Put in a blender for a few seconds, add a cup of water or orange juice for easier blending, pour into your goblets and drink an elixir of live energy! To add a special touch dust the top of juice with cocoa powder and a light sprinkle of chopped pine nuts and serve.
Goji Apple Salad
2 diced apples, 3 tbsp. each of walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, 3 tbsp. soaked Goji Berries. You can let your imagination soar with this salad! Substitute or add a variety of different fruits and nuts.
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