Before we get into the ins and outs of açaí, let’s start by getting the pronunciation right as there is often some confusion around how to say it properly. It’s ‘ah-sigh-ee’.
These small, round purple berries are about 1-inch (2.5-cm) in size. They grow on palm trees, specifically the Euterpe Oleracea, along the banks of the Amazon river and are native to Brazil.
Each berry mostly consists of a large seed and the only edible part is a very thin layer of fruit and its skin. The taste is often described as a cross between unsweetened, dark chocolate and berries with a rich, almost nutty flavour.
Açaí berries are small but mighty, with an unrivalled amount of health benefits. For this reason, they have been a staple food and main source of nutrients in the diet of the indigenous and local communities of the Amazon for centuries. In recent years, this superfruit has risen in popularity all around the world, particularly amongst top athletes, sports addicts and health-conscious people. Açaí smoothies and bowls can now be found in healthy eateries and juice bars around the world. (To see where you can enjoy ours, check out our stockists!)
Açaí deteriorates very rapidly after harvest, so it must undergo a number of flash freezing processes on the very day it is picked to ensure it retains all of its freshness, flavour and nutritional value.
In Brazil, the ministry of agriculture have classified açaí into 3 categories, or grades. The grade determines how much water has been added to make the pulp and you will always find this information printed on the pack. The premium-grade, also known as ‘Type A’ is thick and dense, with over 14% total solids in the pulp which has been extracted with the addition of water and filtration. Type B contains around 11% solids and Type C around 8%. Our raw frozen açaí pulp is premium-grade as it has the highest concentration of actual açaí fruit in the pulp. It’s also wild-harvested and certified organic.
Shop our Açaí product range here.
Why is açaí good for you?
The health benefits of açaí are plentiful. They have a unique nutritional profile compared to other fruits, thus earning them the title of ‘superfruit’. These berries are packed with protein, heart-healthy omega fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids.
By far the most commonly known health benefit though, is their very high concentration of antioxidants, more than any other known fruit in fact. These are molecules that fight free radicals (compounds that can damage the cells in your body). Antioxidants help combat premature ageing and are known to help prevent multiple illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Açaí is a popular food choice for athletes for multiple reasons; aside from being a great source of energy, the amino acids found in these berries help promote muscle performance, endurance and strength, while the high concentration of protein is vital for building muscle and reducing fat.
Açaí is naturally high in essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9) which help promote cardiovascular health, reducing cholesterol and fighting hypertension. It also contains vitamin C which is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues and plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron and the immune system. Other vitamins found in the nutritional profile of this superfruit include vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E.
19 different amino acids have been identified in açaí which make up almost 8% of the weight of the pulp. Amino acids perform a number of important and varied jobs in the body and are the building blocks of protein. With a high concentration of potassium, açaí is also known to help with cramps and the fibre found in the skin and pulp of açaí berries is known to effectively aid digestion. Açaí is also a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper...not bad for a tiny berry!
How is açaí best enjoyed?
Not only is açaí packed full of health benefits, it’s also a versatile superfruit with a wonderful taste and unique texture which lends itself to lots of different dishes. Along the beaches of Brazil, you’ll find the frozen pulp is blended and consumed cold in a bowl known as ‘Açaí na Tigela’. Locals enjoy it mixed with guarana and topped with slices of banana, granola and a drizzle of honey - a cooling, refreshing and energising treat that’s perfect on a hot day.
Açaí pulp can also be used to make juices, smoothies, yoghurts, sorbets, desserts, cocktails and even cakes. It can be combined with other fresh and dried fruits as well as coconut water, natural fruit juice or dairy-free milk alternatives.
You can even consume açaí warm, as it can be found in dried powder form which is ideal for stirring through porridge for a superfood boost, or simply added to hot water and enjoyed as a healthy caffeine-free tea.