By Chef Tina Leigh
How many years have you been noshing on dried cranberries and red goji? Probably for as long as you can remember, right? I’m sure you have been adding them to salads, sprinkling them on your breakfast cereal, or tossing them into your favorite trail mix—but aren’t you a tad burned out on these little guys? Yes, they may be convenient and antioxidant rich superfruits, but did you know there is an even a bigger and better dried berry? One that has been around for thousands of years, growing in the harshest of conditions, and hailed as a remarkable superfruit? Even its name is powerful and commanding. It is the golden berry.
You may not recognize this fruit by its regal “golden” name, as it has many aliases, depending on the region in which it is cultivated. Those from the Cape of South Africa are referred to as “cape gooseberries,” and when harvested in South America, they take the name “Incan berry.” These small golden fruits, prior to being dried, resemble a small yellow tomato or cherry. The delicate berry is shrouded in an aesthetically pleasing, lantern-like paper husk and protected by a womb-like and fleshy pulp.
Who’s Its Real Relative?
You would think by its texture and shape that the golden berry is a relative of the cherry, but the superfruit is actually more closely related to the tomatillo. Once sundried, the berry remains plump like a raisin, golden in color, and rich with seeds, which is a recognized characteristic of tomatillos. The flavor profile of the golden berry is distinct with a citrus tang and a sweet finish, making it ideal for including in jams, chutneys, and salsas, tossing with green and grain salads, and combining with the robust flavor of cacao.
Sizing Up Its Nutritional Power
This revered berry deserves royal praise for its health benefits. It is packed with carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which are both known to reduce inflammation and are antioxidant rich. Loaded with immune-boosting vitamins A and C, the golden berry is also rich in pectin, which regulates blood sugar and helps you to feel fuller longer, as well as fiber, which we all know is essential for healthy bowel function. What is most incredible is their protein content: 16%! Quite noteworthy for a fruit. What’s more, they contain B vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, and even B12, which vegans, raw foodies, and everyone need for hundreds of bodily functions including stress reduction, energy production, metabolism, tissue repair, heart protection, and hormone regulation. And guess what else? The golden fruit is abundant in phosphorous, which is a highly absorbable and vital mineral responsible for the strength and growth of our bones and tissue. Phew! Amazing little fruit don’t you think?
Put This Powerhouse to Use
Here is a simple, raw, and decadent recipe for enjoying the beloved golden berry.
Golden Berry Chocolate Chia Pudding
Makes: Approx. 7 Servings
Time: 45 minutes (includes chilling time)
- Combine almond milk, cacao, chia, agave, 2/3 of the golden berries, and vanilla in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer to an airtight glass container and refrigerate for at least 30 to 45 minutes until the pudding has set.
- To serve, divide between small bowls, sprinkle with a few dried berries and finish with a pinch of salt.
About Chef Tina Leigh, CHHC, CPC
Founder of Haute Health, Tina Leigh is an experienced Natural Foods Chef, Restaurant Consultant, Author, Speaker, and Holistic Health Counselor. Her service offering is unique in that she skillfully develops customized health coaching programs and includes nourishing and balanced cuisine, as well as practical tools for plant-based living. All dishes, menus, and recipes are created with deliberate intent as she crafts stunning and gourmet cuisine from the most wholesome of ingredients. Every food element is hand-selected and promotes healing, reduces disease, and enhances wellbeing. Her cuisine and nutrition counseling have transformed many lives during her 12-year career. She continues to build awareness and support her clientele through facilitating online nutrition workshops, authoring books, teaching online cooking lessons, and offering individual and group nutrition and health counseling services.
To learn more about Tina and Haute Health, please visit the Haute Health Website.