Saturday 22 January 2011


Goji Berries/Goji Bær/枸杞子[gǒu qǐ zǐ]

Ideas for use:
1. Add it to your Chinese chicken soup, stew, porridge, tea or Chinese tonic soup (a must have in the traditional Chinese kitchen)
2. Make Chinese red dates, longan and goji berries tea.
3. Blend it into your smoothies or fruit juice.
4. Eat it as breakfast in your musli or cereal.
5. Sprinkle it in salads.
6. Snack it on its own.

For babies:
For babies/toddlers from 12 months. Due to the lack of strong scientific studies, I prefer to err on the cautious side, and only introduce to my baby after his has reached one year old, and preferably use only the organic ones.

Nutritional Value:
Weight for weight, goji berries are supposed to contain more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots and more iron than steak.

The beta-carotene in the fruit is thought to help fight heart disease, defend against cancer and protect skin from sun-damage. The berries are a good source of B vitamins and anti-oxidants - which may help protect against the fallout from chemical reactions in the body.

Goji berries are also rich in copper, calcium, potassium and zinc. They are believed by the Chinese to be beneficial to the liver, improve eyesight, reduce heart disease, reduce diabetes and promote overall good and strong health.

Although goji berries are known as a health tonic food, do not give to your baby if he/she is running a fever or sick, in the hope of boosting his/her immune system. Goji berries are considered by the Chinese to be a "heaty" food, i.e. too much of it will cause the body to be heaty or hot. The Chinese believe in the yin and the yang and every food is classified into yin (cooling) or yang (heaty) food. Thus, only give to your baby when he/she has recovered from his/her flu. The same goes for adults.

Additional Information:
The Chinese swear by it. Although not totally scientifically-proven (more studies required), the goji berries (also known as wolfberries) are considered to be a tonic food by the Chinese, meaning that it is believed to be immune-boosting and thus highly beneficial to health.

Traditionally, the Chinese use them in savoury dishes and traditional tonic soup (except the sweet Chinese Red Date Tea, which has goji berries as part of its ingredients) . Thus, it is interesting for me to see how the Europeans and Americans are adopting the goji berries in their diets in the sweet way in desserts, musli mix, smoothies, yogurt, fruit juice and even goji berry chocolate bars! I never imagine that goji berries can be eaten as a desserts, thus I am learning from the Europeans and Americans in this respect. They provide an out-of-the-box way to use goji berries.

My friend, Karen Lim, reminded me about the goodness of goji berries, as she uses it in the breakfast she makes for her toddler. I started to give it to J too and I also begin to use them more often in cooking, usually when I make Chinese chicken soup. But I should incorporate it more into our diets.

As I started to take more notice of it, I realise that it is entering the Danish market, in the organic form, of course. According to Danish description, it tastes like a blending between craneberries and cherries, and the Danes describe it as "nutidens superfood". It feels a little funny getting to know a traditional Chinese food through European sources.


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