Get cosy with goji
Whenever I’m in a health food store, the goji berries flirt with me. They peek at me through their nicely branded heavy little zip lock bags, and they look delicious, small and rose pink. They’re always by the cash for easy access. But then I pick up a bag, look at the price, and put them back because they’re out of my league.
Because I have a world famous blog now, though (I just had a reader from India respond this week and I’m still getting over the excitement), I picked up some pricey goji berries because I decided that my readers deserve that kind of financial investment. They were $6.99 for 113g, which looks like about 4-5 small dried handfuls. I took a deep breath, handed over my Visa, and prepared to call the credit card company to ask them for an increase to my limit.
As with many other items on my credit card, goji berries come from China. They’re sold in dried form, because the fresh berries are very delicate, even having to be shaken from the plants to be harvested so that they’re not handled much.
Their health benefits seem to be extensive, although Wikipedia says that there isn’t much scientific evidence to back marketing claims, so take the hype with a grain of salt (using an idiom specifically to be helpful with my global readership’s English because my ESL students used to ask for them). Many claim that they improve vision, libido, endurance, that they calm the nervous system, help the kidneys and liver, and boost the immune system. They contain 18 types of amino acids, 21 minerals, more betacarotene than carrots, antioxidants, an anti-inflammatory, lots of Vitamin C, and Vitamins B1, B6 & E.
After trying the dried ones, I thought to myself, “Yeah they’re healthy and all, but they get stuck in your teeth.” They’re not juicy when dried like raisins, but they’re tolerable if you do believe in the health benefits – slightly sweet with a bitter aftertaste.
I searched for recipes to try them in and was disappointed by all of the super healthy ones. I had to google for quite some time to find one that might taste good. I really wish healthy people would raise the bar (idiom – you’re welcome) for flavour rather than swearing that their recipes are delicious when they’re not. Anyway, I finally found a great recipe here that also happens to be healthy. Here is my version of it, which includes cilantro:
- 1 fresh mango, peeled and diced
- 1 fresh avocado, peeled and diced (squeeze it when you’re at the store. Should be dark in colour and give slightly when you squeeze it. If it’s bright green, leave it on your counter for a few days until it darkens)
- 1 small handful of goji berries, rehydrated
- Juice of ½ lime
- Small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- Your favourite tortilla chips
Directions: Prepare gojis by boiling enough water to cover them in a bowl, letting them sit in it for about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. Mix mango and avocado. Add gojis, cilantro, and then lime juice. Don’t prepare too far in advance of eating because avocado may brown, although lime juice will help to prolong the green.
Results: Delicious! I served this to my infamous crew of cousins and everyone loved it without exception. The guac was fresh-tasting and mango sweet with a gentle tangy berry burst of goji, and none of the bitterness that came through with the dried berries was evident. And the colours were so delightful I might use one of the photos for my banner shot! This will definitely be a repeat recipe for me.
Rating: 4 Yums. I will always keep some dried gojis in my pantry for this guac and to keep my longevity and virility in check.