The Acai Palm Minus
Too many people have learned about the Acai Palm from watching the Oprah show and seeing either the benevolent Dr. Oz and Oprah talking about the now popular Acai berries. Some may have even read Dr. Perricone’s best-selling book that talked about the different super foods that are abound in nature.
Wonders don’t cease to amaze and because of the nutrients found in these berries, a lot of food supplements containing them have come along. Some are being marketed extensively on the Internet. Others have even gone through great lengths to use names of popular figures and TV shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Dr. Oz Show.
This has led viewers and the general public to ask what are these berries and where do Acai Palm trees come from? Well, when you make a huge hype about something, you should expect to receive a lot of inquiries about it. Whether you believe in the claims of dietary supplements or not, it is a fact that they have been viewed by some people as having possible health benefits, if not another kind of food that can be included in a healthy diet.
What Are Acai Berries Anyway?
The Acai berry and the acai palm that bears it have become the object of a current health craze. People who want to live healthy lives or those who simply just want to burn off excess fat and flatten their tummies have used them. Many have raved about the results they have achieved.
It’s not just your next door neighbor who talks about these berries. Even famous celebrities have claimed to use them and have had great results because of them. So, what are they anyway?
Brazilian Acai Palm
These berries actually come from a tree which is a variant of palm trees. The name of both the fruit and berry is Portuguese. There is no direct translation from this language into English so the best meaning we can get is that the name suggests it’s a fruit that ejects water. Well, that is pretty much what happens when people bite into a berry.
Since the demand for these berries have grown rapidly in the past few years, people have sought for ways to grow them outside of the areas where they are found naturally. These berries and palms are actually native to areas from Belize all the way down to Brazil. So you can find them from the regions in Central America and in other places in South America.
Given the natural environment to which these palms are endemic to, you can say that they can grow better in a tropical setting. Just like the lands they grow in Peru, Acai palms are pretty much at home in floodplains as well as in swamps. If you live in areas that have similar climatic conditions, then there might be some hope in your attempts to grow them right in your backyard.
Just like any other palm tree, Acai also has pinnate leaves. The leaves of this palm variant can grow more than nine feet long. Well, almost ten feet actually (the leaves grow up to around 9.8 feet in length). That’s typical about such palms.
They mainly grow upwards and there are variants that grow up to 25 meters in height. Some palms get fat and heavy but Acai does not. Just like some palm variants, these palms remain slender when they shoot up to greater heights.
What about the Acai Palm Fruit?
Note that there are eight variants of Acai in the world today. So you should expect that they will have slightly different looking fruits. The berries pretty much look like grapes, but only smaller. They are round and usually have a circumference of about 25 mm, which is about an inch.
The antioxidant rich fruit itself is a drupe with colors ranging from dark purple to almost black. Compared to other similar fruits, Acai berries actually have less pulp. When it’s time to harvest them, you’ll find the fruit hanging down from their palm trees in rows of branched panicles. You can usually find from 500 up to 900 Acai berries growing in each acai palm.
As stated earlier, these berries and palms come in different variants. So when you order them and find that they sent you green colored ones, don’t fret so much about it. You will still be getting pretty much the same nutrients whether the fruit turns out to be dark green or even purple.
If you inspect the Acai fruit’s mesocarp, you’ll find that this is where most of the pulp can be found. Some variants have 1 mm thick pulps while others have thinner ones. You will also find that the fruit is also covered by something like a hard shell. And if you cut inside, you’ll find that it contains a single seed, which makes up about 80 percent of the entire fruit. The seed is about seven to ten millimeters in diameter.
Acai palms produce their fruit twice in a given year. All the fruits from the different variants are edible. In the countries where they are grown, they are usually grown and harvested for export, which is pretty much where the money is right now.
Can You Grow an Acai Palm in Your Backyard?
That’s a pretty good question. It is claimed that the health benefits of the fruit can only be taken advantage of within 24 hours to 3 days of picking the fruit. This means you can’t find the fruit in its virgin state in your local grocery stores.
It is possible to grow the Acai palm in other swampy and/or humid areas. However, it is also claimed that they are best grown within the confines of the Amazon, but such claims still need to be verified. So far, what we know for sure today is that anyone can get the health benefits from the fruit in any form: acai juice, fruit, or even in tea form.
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