These little red fruits are little Vitamin C bombs. According to research, 1 cup of acerola contains about 35 times more Vitamin C than 1 cup of cut up oranges. And you can taste it. They are very acidic and you will be doing well to drink a juice made of only acerola! In fact if you add acerola to fruit salads the vitamin c works it antioxidant magic, preventing bananas and apples from browning or oxidising.
Grown on a shrub, around the world they are also called Acerola Cherry, Barbados Cherry, West Indian Cherry, Puerto Rican Cherry, Cerise de Antilles, Cerise de la Barbade, Malpighia glabra and Malpighia punicifolia. As suggested by the variety of exotic names, Acerola grow in tropical climates and although native to the Caribbean and South America they are also grown in India and the USA.
I first came across these little wonders in Brazil, selling fresh at the market, and cheap too! I then noticed it was used to add tangy, fruity flavours and vibrant colour to traditional desserts like puddings and cheesecakes or mixed with other ingredients like coconut, açai, banana, cashews and brazil nuts in fruit and nut bars sold in health food stores. It is even sold alongside açai in frozen packets in the supermarkets, very convenient for supercharging your smoothies.
As with Brazil, in Australia the fruit is also finding its way into supplemental form either on its own or in antioxidant and alkalizing formulas for its impressive Vitamin C content. Supplements like these can be beneficial when Vitamin C can act therapeutically such as when combating a cold or infection, reducing oxidative stress, increasing energy and detoxification processes or improving capillary or connective tissue quality.
When taking a vitamin C supplement, dosages vary depending on age, lifestyle, dietary habits as well as emotional and physical factors. A therapeutic dose can be anywhere between 50-2000mg per day and even more when being injected for supportive measures with diseases such as cancer. A toxic range of vitamin C has not been determined however diarrhea may be experienced if very high doses are consumed orally.
Vitamin C supplementation is not recommended for individuals with gout, kidney stones or kidney disease or those taking warfarin or prolixin. Further to this Acerola is not yet recommended for pregnancy but in all cases please consult with your nutritionist or health care practitioner before taking supplements to ensure the supplement is right for you.
If you discover these little red treasures in your travels I recommend blending the frozen pureed acerola with other fruits in a smoothie or finding the perfect health bar to take on your travels!
1 packet of acerola frozen puree
handful of other berries