Consumer Tips for Goji Berries

China Qinghai Goji Berries

In recent years, with the enhancement of public health awareness, goji berries, as a food-medicine homologous substance, have entered public life. To help consumers of different age groups make informed choices in consuming goji berries, the following consumer tips are provided.

Rich Variety and Diverse Products

Goji berries, belonging to the Solanaceae family, are deciduous shrubs, and there are approximately 80 varieties worldwide. In China, they are mainly produced in Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Hebei, and other regions. Goji berries come in various colors, including red, black, purple, white, and yellow, with red and black goji berries being the most common on the market.

Goji berries refer to the mature fruits of the goji plant, rich in polysaccharides, alkaloids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and other compounds. Goji leaves, goji flowers, and goji root bark share homologous properties with goji berries, containing rich active substances, each with its own characteristics. Goji also has many derived products, such as goji leaf (bud) tea, goji leaf (bud) dishes, goji flower honey, etc. With the development of the goji deep processing industry, goji products such as goji pulp, goji composite fruit pulp, juice, and concentrate are also available for consumers to choose from.

Smart Selection and Proper Storage

Consumers are advised to purchase goji berries in small packages from reputable merchants or platforms, preferably from the current year’s harvest. When selecting, pay attention to the following three points.

  1. Check the color: Different grades and varieties of goji berries may vary in size and shape, but their composition is similar. Red goji berries are mostly dark red, and black goji berries are black or dark purple. If buying bulk goji berries, choose those that are dry and free from clumps.
  2. Smell: Normal goji berries should have a fruity aroma. Avoid choosing goji berries with strange or irritating odors.
  3. Taste: Normal goji berries should have a sweet and moist taste with a slight bitter undertone. During the drying process, goji berries are treated with edible alkali to remove the waxy layer on the surface. Goji berries treated with alkali may have a slightly bitter taste when eaten, but this does not affect their nutritional value. Additionally, goji berries may have a mild bitter aftertaste, mainly due to the active ingredients such as alkaloids, terpenoids, glycosides, etc., which are beneficial to the human body.

When storing goji berries, seal them and place them in a cool and dry place. In summer, it is best to seal the goji berries and refrigerate or freeze them to prevent discoloration and insect infestation.

Scientific Consumption Guidelines

Goji berries can be soaked in water, chewed dry, and used in cooking. Before consumption or cooking, goji berries should be washed properly.

For soaking, the water temperature is recommended to be between 50-70°C. For black goji berries, it is suggested to use water at 40-50°C to avoid damaging the anthocyanins. Goji berries can also be brewed together with goji leaf (bud) tea for a drink and chewing.

In cooking, goji berries can be paired with red dates, longan, Chinese yam, eggs, etc., for making dishes, soups, baking, etc. It is beneficial to add goji berries to the pot at the beginning of cooking to facilitate the dissolution of relevant components. If seeking a good chewy texture when eaten, goji berries can also be added 10-15 minutes before serving.

Consuming goji berries should be in moderation. It is worth noting that some consumers may experience heatiness after consuming goji berries, possibly due to individual differences in constitution. In such cases, adjusting the quantity, drinking more water, and gradually incorporating goji berries into the diet may be advisable.

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