Açai – pronounced ‘ah-sigh-ee’. It is one of the most nutritional fruits on earth! The berry is small round, slightly larger than a blueberry and a dark purple-black colour. The açai berry consists of a large seed covered by a very thin layer of flesh and skin. In fact, the flesh and skin make up less than 10% of its total weight which makes it almost impossible to eat raw and therefore made into a pulp. Although the edible part of the berry is small in comparison to its size, its nutritional density is high. Açai pulp is rich in proteins, fiber, vitamin E, minerals, essential omega oils 6 and 9, low in sugars and tastes great.
Where Does the Açai Berry Come From?
Açai berries are amongst the most nutritious food of the Amazon. The açai berry is native to Central and Southern America and harvested by the indigenous people of Brazil. Most of the açai grows wild in the Amazon Rainforest on high branches of tall palm trees. These trees can be up to 15-20metres tall and with each branch loaded with several hundred açai berries.
Açai grows in several different places in Brazil including the Acre, Para and Amapa regions. The majority of our açai comes from the Para region of Brazil which has very rich soil and heavy concentrations of limestone. Açai growing in such floodplains is the most natural form of açai that can be found and also tastes the best.
In Brazil the oil of the açai fruit is used as a herbal medicine to treat diarrhea; an infusion of the grated fruit rind is used as a topical wash for skin ulcers; and, the fruit seeds are crushed and prepared in an infusion for fevers. In the Peruvian Amazon, an infusion of the toasted crushed seeds is used for fever. In Colombia, where the trees grow along the Pacific coast line, it is called naidí and the fruit is turned into a common and popular drink.
The most common use of the Açai berry by the Amazonians is the dark purple juice. It is extracted by soaking the seeds in water to soften the outer layer and then squeezing and straining them to produce a very tasty dense purple liquid. The açai juice is served fresh and ice cold, sometimes with added sugar to sweeten. Often the açai juice is mixed with sugar and tapioca flour to produce porridge.
Grades of Açai
There are three grades of açai- popular, medio and espeçial. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture formalized these grades according to the percentage of açai fruit pulp they contain.
Once the Açai pulp is prepared, it is mixed with water. The amount of water it is mixed with determines the grade of the Açai that it produces. When less water is mixed with the Açai pulp this results in a purer, more nutritional and more expensive form.
Our açai is of the highest possible grade, espeçial. We only use the best. Contains no added chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavours, colouring, bulking materials, in fact no nasty stuff at all.