Acerola (pronounced eh-suh-row-luh) is a small, cherry-like fruit that grows on large, dense evergreen shrubs throughout the tropics of South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. As a tropical fruit, native to the western hemisphere acerola cherry is also known as “West Indian cherries” or “Barbados cherry”. This is due to its cherry-like berries that are generally 1 centimeter to 1 inch in diameter and are orange-red to ruby red in color when riped.
Unlike the conventional cherry fruit, which is a member of the Rosaceae family along with other popular staple fruits (apples, pears, blackberries), acerola cherry is a member of the Malpighiaceae family along with other tropical plants such as Byrsonima Lucida (Locustberry) and Banisteriopsis Caapi (Caapi Vine). Its taste ranges from tart to semi-sweet with Brazilian varieties being noted as the richest and tartiest.
ACEROLA HEALTH BENEFITS
Acerola’s health benefits are mostly due to its richness in vitamin C.
In a study of various vitamin C-containing fruits and their relative amounts, acerola cherry outperformed all the rest, especially when it is grown organically. This fruit has reportedly higher amounts of vitamin C than even oranges and lemons. Each serving of acerola cherry contains up to 30 to 50 times as much vitamin C as an orange! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant involved in a number of bodily functions. It plays an important role in building the immune system, helping the body fight off infections, and rebuilding damaged tissue, even helping to prevent free radical damage, cancer and treat certain illnesses such as flu and scurvy.
In fact, acerola cherry is one of the most potent sources of ascorbic acid, a natural form of vitamin C, and also offers a good amount of phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. The vitamin C found in the fruit is naturally bound, therefore highly absorbable as compared to the synthetic form of vitamin C which could be difficult for digestion. This confirms its place as an all-natural vitamin C supplement.
Apart from its plentiful amounts of Vitamin C, acerola cherries are also rich in Vitamin A, mostly in the form of beta-carotene. Vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining ocular health, collagen production and contains anti-aging antioxidants. Acerola cherry, when consumed as a food, also contains good amounts of the following nutrients:
niacin (vitamin B-3)
riboflavin (vitamin B-2)
thiamine (vitamin B-1)
Similar to orange juice, acerola cherry is getting a big boost from those seeking immune support during the coronavirus pandemic. Disclaimer: No specific foods, supplements, or micronutrients can protect you from viruses or germs, but a well-fueled system can bounce back quicker!
The History of Acerola Cherry - Richest source of vitamin c: Acerola
Traditionally, acerola cherry has long been consumed as a natural aid to treat liver ailments, diarrhea, dysentery, coughs, and colds. Originally known as the “Barbados Cherry,” the acerola cherry was brought over to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors during the 16th century. In the 18th century, the Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus, gave acerola its scientific name, Malpighia Emarginata. This was in honor of Marcello Malpighi, a 17th-century Italian physician, and botanist.
Upon the discovery of the many medical and health benefits of acerola cherry as well as its delicious tarty flavor, the natives of South America began to fall in love with the cherry. Over the last few decades, Brazil has started to exploit acerola cherry commercially and now is the largest producer. Additionally, the adoption of acerola cherry is increasing worldwide due to its many health benefits, namely its high content in vitamin C.
Our acerola cherry is grown in shrubs and cultivated sustainably and ethically through agroforestry. Agroforestry is defined as ‘agriculture with trees’. It involves a wide range of trees that are protected, regenerated, planted, or managed in agricultural landscapes for the intentional integration of shrubs into crops, livestock, wildlife, and humans. This entails ecological, economic, and social benefits.
The alley cropping method is used to plant our acerola seeds between rows of trees to provide income while the trees mature. Producing within the agroforestry system ensures crop stability and a source of income within the same area. Hence, farmers are able to guarantee harvests all year round, while ensuring respect to their origins.
Harvesting & production
Images Credits: Amwayglobal
Acerola cherry turned dark red when fully matured and contains lesser vitamin C at that stage. Therefore, our acerola cherry is harvested when it is still green; unripe to retain the highest amount of vitamin C and nutrients possible. Acerola cherries are usually picked manually during the coolest part of the early morning and must be handled with extra care due to their fragile nature.
Upon harvesting, our acerola cherries are being transported to a processing facility where it is sorted and thoroughly cleaned, and sanitized before going through the softening process. Thereafter, de-pulping, refining, filtering, and pasteurization take place to ensure the best version of our acerola cherry. Gratefood Co is committed to bringing the freshest and purest form of products to our consumers. As such, we do not add any forms of emulsifiers, sweeteners/sugars, stabilisers, preservatives, additivities, and artificial nasties into our Organic Acerola Cherry and pack into 100g pulps after pasteurisation. To conserve optimum nutrients and freshness, our acerola cherry pulps are sent to cold storage to be frozen within the same day.
The result is a smooth, very tangy pulp that will add citrus flavour, making it a delicious and easy addition to your smoothies and juices. The cherry on top? It adds a high amount of vitamin C to your diet. Each of our 100 grams pulps of frozen Organic Acerola Cherry delivers a whopping 1180% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C! The richest source of vitamin c:acerola!
If you are looking for a natural way to boost your immune system, increase your collagen production or simply improve your health, Gratefood Organic Acerola Cherry is the right way to kickstart your healthy lifestyle.
You can also view our quick and easy recipes here =)