My “Choose Well” category features my picks for foods, ingredients, and products for YourBestLife.
Goji berry, wolfberry, Lycium barbarum, Lycii fructus. I am so excited to be growing my own goji berry plant finally. I’ve been familiar with these red-orange, ellipsoid (thank you, Wikipedia) berries since childhood; my dad put them in his Chinese herbal chicken soup (like this one) and always reminded me that they are good for your eyes. Since then, they have been popularized as a superfood that promises to extend your youth, increase your sex drive, and fight cancer. They are full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and phytochemicals and have medicinal properties, but I prefer to treat them as any other nutrient-dense food–as part of the whole diet.
We are growing our goji berry shrub in a pot right now, and I plan to transplant it into a 30-gallon SmartPot once I find the right full-sun location for it. It is a drought-tolerant, deciduous plant that grows vine-like up to 8-10 feet. The guy we got it from explained that the mature plant sends out runners that you can cut and root to get new plants. Our starter plant had some powdery mildew, and I was worried that we got a bum deal. However, we cut back some of the branches and sprayed its leaves with an organic fungicide, and it is now flowering and fruiting. Due to its susceptibility to powdery mildew, it is also a good idea to put it in area that gets more wind or airflow.
The berries can be eaten fresh or dried. Since we’ve only started getting fruit from our plant, I purchased this bag of organic dried goji berries from Azure Standard.
(If you’re not in their delivery area, you can purchase another organic brand here.) They are delicious! They have a tendency to stick annoyingly to your teeth when eaten dry, though, so I prefer to plump them up for consumption, such as in a tea, a clear soup, or in our morning oatmeal. I even tossed a couple spoonfuls into stir-fried napa cabbage for color, and they were flavor bombs amidst bites of the mildly sweet cabbage. I love that they work equally well in both sweet and savory applications.
Have you tried or seen goji berries in other ways? Please share!
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