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Brazilian Fruit Series: Part IV Posted by on Sep 18, 2008 in Uncategorized

Today, we’re going to learn about the açaí berry.

Grown in the Amazon, northern Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Guyana, this fruit is known for its high energy content and delicious taste as a smoothie. Though its use as a food dates back to pre-Colombian indigenous tribes, this fruit was only popularized on the Brazilian market int he 1980s and 90s. The name is a Tupi word, which means “crying fruit,” or fruit that expels water.

The açaí tree looks like a palm tree, which can grow up to 25 meters high. The entire tree can be used for different things: the leaves, for forest huts, the roots, as a pesticide, the seeds, for jewelery, and the heart of palm, for food and medicine. The açaí berry itself is not eaten raw, but instead made into juice or a smoothie, as well as candy, jam and ice cream.

They typical açaí smoothie, which is a popular snack all over Brazil, is made by mixing the pulp with ice, and sometimes adding bananas, strawberries, and other fruit. People frequently mix in granola as they eat the smoothie. In the Amazon and Northern Brazil, however, it’s common to mix in manioc flour or tapioca, or to drink the juice without sugar or additives.

Açaí is very healthy, when eaten in reasonable amounts. For every 100 grams of pulp, it has nearly 4 grams of protein, nearly 17 grams of fiber, and 118 milligrams of calcium. It’s a healthy alternative to an energy drink, but is high in caloric content.

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Comments:

  1. Rabscuttle:

    The Acai flavor of Hydrive is totally my favorite. 🙂 It was cool to read about this fruit, as I’ve only recently started seeing it pop up in various drinks, and had no idea what it was.

  2. Fred Bitt:

    I really like açaí, but you’ll get chubby if you eat too often!

  3. Rabscuttle:

    Check out this awesome video of the acai vendors in Brazil:

    http://reallyplayingforpizza.blogspot.com/2009/02/zola-acai-video.html