Ahh, the amazing açaí fruit – a nutritious and sustainable superfood that grows wild all over the magnificent Amazon Rainforest!
Our team has just returned from Brazil where we learned all about the culture of açaí in this beautiful part of the world. As açaí enthusiasts we were super excited to have a chance to visit the farming communities that harvest our fruits along the Amazon River.
We learned a ton, and wanted to share some of the most fun facts with you all!
Here you go!!!
- ‘Superfruit’ from rich soils of the Amazon Rainforest
These delicious fruits grow in large clusters on açaí palm trees in the Amazon Rainforest in South America. The trees are grown in rich soils, helping to produce this superfruit that we know, love and devour! Each tree grows to be between 50 to 100 feet tall, with four to eight stems sharing one root system. And each stem can produce between four to eight bunches of fruits at a time – that's a lot of açaí!!!
- Fresh açaí can only be found in South America
Ever wonder why you haven’t seen fresh açaí in grocery stores in your local neighbourhood? This is because açaí is highly perishable due to its lack of sugars, which acts as a natural preservative for most other fruits. Açaí goes bad within 24 hours of being picked, so by the time it reaches Canadian soils you probably wouldn’t want to put it in your mouth in its normal state anyway. Our açaí is frozen into a purée in order to preserve its quality to be shared with the world!
- Açaí is not a berry!
Contrary to popular opinion and incorrect ads labelling açaí as being a berry, it is actually technically a ‘drupe’ as it has a central pit rather than a bunch of small seeds inside. Only about 10% of each açaí fruit is edible, but this portion is so potent that not much is needed, and water is added in order to create a purée that makes delicious bowls and smoothies.
- Locals eat it in its purest form
Locals of the Brazilian Amazon find it odd that we like to make such extravagant smoothie bowls in North America with their beloved açaí – that we muck it up with things like coconut milk, peanut butter, other fruits, chia, hemp, granola… the list goes on! They simply eat it as a side to meat or fish, or with sweetener as a snack or dessert.
And who can blame them, not only is it grown all over their land, it is also the best way to taste the delightful, pure flavour of the açaí, which can be described as a mix between a rich berry and deep earthy dark chocolate. Yumm!!!
- Açaí is a sustainable forestry resource
Açaí fruits naturally replenish twice each year, so no trees are harmed in its harvesting. Farming cooperatives that live along the Amazon River harvest it in the wild, before it is sent up the river to the market to be sold. No bit is wasted, with each seed used in the circular economy in the region – either re-planted, made into eco-friendly products or used to power the production process. Even better – açaí provides an environmentally friendly yet economically viable alternative for locals to profit from an Amazonian resource. And with deforestation levels on the rise, this is needed in the region.
So, not only is açaí a nutritious and worry-free superfruit, it is a sustainable resource that is supporting Amazonian communities and preserving their glorious rainforest.
Stay tuned for more blogs and recipes with our treasured açaí as the main star!