by Marta Szumiata
on September 18, 2020

Superfoods, part 2

Acerola and mulberry are the next 2 superfoods in the range. They are notable for their higher intensity of fruity molecules.

The second best (after camu camu) deliver of vitamin C

Ripe acerola, also known as Barbados, West Indian, or Antilles cherry, provides a huge boost of vitamin C, but the unripe fruit can have twice as much of this vital nutrient! Commonly regarded as the best source of vitamin C, lemons contain 50 mg per 100 g, but acerolas can range from 1000 to 4500 mg per gram of fruit! The fruit gained popularity after World War II when the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine found it to be useful in curing a cold. It is more popularly grown in home gardens than by commercial farmers due to difficulties in its storage and transportation.

Culinary uses of acerola

Ripe acerola is extremely fragile and easily spoiled, so this fruit is usually eaten fresh. They can also be preserved by pureeing, juicing, and creating preserves. Unfortunately, the fruit loses its vivid red colour and it turns brown as it continues to ripen. Acerola is used in preparing ice cream, popsicles, jams, jellies, syrups, and converted into wine. It is also an ingredient in baby food and pharmaceuticals. Thanks to its high vitamin C content, it can be processed and used to prevent the browning of fresh cut fruit like bananas or apples (the same as ascorbic acid).

Colorful mulberries

Mulberries can be white, red, or purple-black depending on the species. The different species have wide origins: eastern and central China, the eastern United States, and western Asia respectively. They are harvested not only for their delicious fruit, but also for the leaves which are the sole food source for silkworms. They are usually eaten fresh or dried as a snack, but they can also be processed into jam or wine, or used in teas, juices, and ice creams as well. Mulberries are a delicious filling for pastries and buns. Enrich your porridge and smoothies with this superfood.

Aroma differences

Mulberry and Acerola both have an extra sweet flavor with tropical undertones. Similar notes are present in fruits like pineapple, passion fruit, granadilla, melon, Asian pear, cherry, gooseberry, and strawberry, as well as beetroot puree, camomile, flax seeds, tequila, gin and Parmesan.

Acerola is more floral with a violet scent due to ß-ionone, also occurring in mango, sweet potato, carrot, kimchi, rhubarb, Yerba mate, and even crab meat. Citrusy, orange (nonanal) is one of the key aromas, and therefore acerola goes well with kiwi berry, pomelo, yellow dragon fruit, borage flower, liquorice, mascarpone, and cooked grey mullet. Surprisingly, you can pick up on some herbal / minty notes because of ß-cyclocitral, a compound also found in apricot, goji berry, kale, tomato, habanero, and green tea.

acerola

Mulberry, however, possesses a refreshing green / cucumber-like aroma (1-hexanol) which also gives slight herbal notes. It mixes well with cranberry, blueberry, elderberry, açaí, apple sauce, prickly pear fruit, grapes, or cognac.

mulberry

Healthy benefits

All of these berries provide numerous health benefits. They possess strong antioxidant properties, which helps in removing toxins, boosting the immune system, and decreasing oxidative stress which in turn may reduce cancer risk. They are the source of many different minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus) and vitamins (A, B, C or E).

Acerola has a content of ß-carotene comparable to carrots, while goji contains even more ß-carotene than carrots. Goji contains the fatty acid ß-sitosterol, which has been shown to decrease the size of overgrown cancerous cells. Additionally, it contains a polysaccharide called Lycium Barbarum that boosts the immune system and helps to prevent cancerous formations.

Mulberry contains 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), a compound that helps to control blood sugar by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, slowing the release of sugars after meals.

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by Marta Szumiata
A confectioner, food technologist and culinary reenactor. Loving food, Marta is still exploring culinary world looking for new inspirations and bewildering dishes. She likes to try her created recipes on her family and friends, especially fermented ones

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