A while back, I was considering some different health remedies to add to my arsenal. I had seen an article about goji berries and my curiosity was piqued. You see, I am always looking for ways to keep myself strong, vibrant, and healthy. At the time, goji berries seemed to be all the rage.
Now, the goji berry craze has seemed to fade a bit since that time. You know how trends are, they are booming for a bit and then they tend to dwindle down a bit as people move on to the next thing. However, homesteaders and herbalists know better than to do this. We understand the importance of different fruits, herbs, spices, and veggies. Such is the case with goji berries.
You guys, for real, goji berries are awesome! They are so much more than a little red berry you toss into your morning smoothie. Goji berries are packed full of antioxidants and nutrition. Plus, they are really pretty to look at.
So, a little history/science lesson on the old goji berry, if you will. The scientific name of goji berries is Lycium barbarum. Sounds intense, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, goji berries are one of the most laid-back fruits around. These berries are known as wolf berries or, my personal favorite, “King of Berries”.
They belong to the family of Solanaceae. These yummy berries are native to both south-eastern Asia and the European continent. So, if you’re sitting in America, know that your goji berries have traveled quite a long way.
I love how these berries are described as being a “Fountain of Youth”. They are actually known as one of the most nutritious fruits on the earth! Did you know that Goji berries are made up of almost every essential element on the planet? Yep! This is remarkable for your body. Goji berries are high in fiber and contain 21 trace minerals.
So, what kinds of benefits can come from goji berries?
Let’s find out.
It is said that if goji berries are eaten on a consistent basis they will help you get a better night’s rest. If you are under a lot of stress or succumbing to nervous tension, goji berries can help bring you relief by decreasing the amount of hydrocortisone that is released in the body when you’re feeling out of whack. This makes you feel relaxed and ready for bed.
Not many people are aware of this, but goji berries are great for the heart. Due to their high fiber content, goji berries can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol while helping your body to maintain the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Having cholesterol levels that are in good standing lessens your risk for heart disease and stroke. Goji berries also contain a lot of antioxidants and beta-carotene which help your heart to beat as it should.
Improves Your Memory
There is a considerable amount of betaine in goji berries. This compound is known to keep your memory sharp and on point. Betaine breaks itself down into choline, which will lead to you never losing a game of Memory, again.
Gets Your Blood Pumping
If you deal with circulation problems, goji berries might be able to help you out as they encourage good blood flow throughout the body.
Strong Bones and Muscles
Because of the 18 amino acids found in goji berries, they can help strengthen your bones and muscles. These little red berries also provide your body with an ample amount of protein.
Improves Eye Health
High in zeaxanthin and carotenoids, goji berries can improve your vision. You’ll also reap the benefits of retinal protection and decrease the risk of age-related eye disorders like macular degeneration when you make goji berries a part of your diet.
Time to Make Babies
If you are a man who is dealing with fertility issues, consider adding goji berries to your menu as consuming them has been known to raise testosterone levels.
Tells Symptoms of Old Age to Take A Hike
Consuming goji berries helps decrease the amount of fat within your body, encourages your muscles to relax, lowers the stress hormone, and stimulates the production of the human growth hormone aka “The Youth Hormone”. All of these things combined helps slow down the aging process.
Helps You Live Longer
Many people have branded goji berries as the longevity fruit. There are loads of polysaccharides in goji berries and these little guys help your health stay on point, especially gut health. You’ll find that your immune system works better when you’re consuming goji berries and in turn, you’ll get sick less. If you happen to fall ill or get injured, goji berries can increase your stamina, so you can recover quicker.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Now, there isn’t a ton of evidence to back this claim up, so don’t go ditching your chemo therapy meds. However, we do know that antioxidants help ward off and fight cancer cells and goji berries are chock full of them. Some folks have claimed that goji berries helped them to lessen the nasty side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Ways to Use Goji Berries
The best ways to use goji berries is by eating them. They taste delicious and are easily incorporated into a variety of drinks, desserts, teas, and snacks. Honestly, everyone should be eating goji berries for the simple fact that they make you feel happier. They have been used for centuries in East Asian food and medicine due to their ability to improve a borage of health ailments.
Adding goji berries to your diet can truly be a great thing. Let’s look at some ways you can easily incorporate them.
In the Raw
Eat goji berries just as there are. Pop ‘em in your mouth and enjoy the sweet, tangy flavor of the fruit.
You can purchase goji berry juice or make your own. I, personally, don’t like this form of consumption, though. When you juice a fruit you literally take away all of the fiber. What’s left is sugar.
Have a Spot of Tea
Steep goji berries in water to make yourself a tea. You can use both hot or cold water. Allow the berries to sit for at least 10 minutes. I like to steep them in green tea and really give myself a powerhouse of antioxidants. Feel free to eat the steeped berries.
Make Yourself a Smoothie
Goji berry smoothies are a favorite of many. The first thing you want to do is soak your berries in some water for about 10 minutes. After they are fully rehydrated, toss them into your smoothie and enjoy.
Add Them to Snack Mixes
Goji berries taste wonderful when mixed into trail mixes or with nuts. My children love to eat goji berries with nuts, pretzels, and dried fruit.
Serve Them Over Cereal
Swap the raisins out for goji berries and add them to either hot or cold cereal.
Bake with Them
Goji berries taste amazing in muffins and cookies.
Make Yourself Some Energy Bars
Add a handful of goji berries with your homemade energy bar ingredients and watch your stamina soar through the roof.
Add Goji Berries to Your Soup
This may sound a little strange to you but making goji berry soup is really good. In fact, it is a part of Normal Chinese cuisine.
Goji Berry Recipes
Goji Berry Pineapple Juice
- 1 tbsp of goji berries
- 8 oz. lukewarm water
- 1 thick slice of pineapple, about 5cm
Soak the goji berries in the warm water for about an hour. Pour the berries, water, and pineapple into a juicer and make yourself a tangy cup of yummy goji juice.
Goji Berry Detox Tea
- 3 tablespoons of ginger powder
- 3 tablespoons of turmeric powder
- ½ cup goji berries
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons stevia powder
- 10 cups filtered water
Add 4 cups of water and the goji berries to a pitcher and allow them to steep for several hours. You want the goji berries to be juicy and hydrated. Blend the mixture and pour through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag into a 10-cup pitcher. Squeeze any remaining liquid through the bag.
Now, add you’re the remaining ingredients to the goji juice and stir.
Enjoy over ice.
Goji Berry Peach Recipe
- 3 tablespoons goji berries
- 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
- 10 oz. frozen peaches
- 1 ripe banana
- 4 tablespoons of orange juice
- 2 packets of stevia
Combine the goji berries with the milk and allow to sit for about half an hour. After steeping, combine the remaining ingredients with the goji milk and place into a blender. Pulse until smooth.
Chocolate Goji Berry Trail Snack
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup coconut chips
- ¼ cup dried goji berries
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve.
Goji Berry Orange Muffins
- 1 cup goji berries
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup cane sugar plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup cream cheese
- Pam cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, in a small bowl, mix the goji berries and orange juice together. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Now, in a bigger bowl, add the flour, ¾ cup of sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.
In another small bowl, mix together the oil, orange zest, and egg. Add this mixture to the flour mixture along with the juice/berry mixture. Stir until just moist.
Fold in the nuts. Spray the muffin tin with cooking spray and pour half of the batter, evenly, into the cups. Place 1 tablespoon of cream cheese in the center of each muffin. Fill the cups with remaining batter.
Sprinkle the muffins with the remaining sugar and bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven.
Allow muffins to cool on a rack before eating.
Goji Cocoa Energy Bars
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup date paste
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tbsps. goji berries
- 2 tbsps. cacao nibs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Line a baking pan with waxed paper. Grind the nuts into a powder using a mill. Now, mix together the ground nuts, date paste, and salt in a bowl. Toss in the goji berries, cacao nibs, and vanilla. Mix. Press the mixture into a rectangular shape onto the cookie sheet and cut into bars. Store the bars in an airtight container. Enjoy!
Zippy Goji Berry Soup
- 1 cup goji berries
- 1 small can diced tomatoes
- ¾ of a pint of veggie stock
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small chili pepper, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, roughly torn
Soak your goji berries overnight in water to rehydrate them.
The following day, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and chili pepper for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, goji berries, and cumin seeds to the mix. Stir for a few minutes. Now, add the veggie stock and bring the soup to a boil. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the coriander leaves. Pour the hot soup into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
I’m confident you’ll find a use for goji berries after reading this article. With all the health benefits and ways to use goji berries it would be a travesty not to incorporate them into your life in some way.
Even children love goji berries and you can make kids some tasty snacks with them.
How have you decided to get more goji into your diet? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Do you have a goji berry recipe or success story? Tell me about it!
Jessica Faidley is a stay-at-home, work-from-home, homeschooling mom who loves to teach her children how to live off the land.
Herbalism is another topic that Jessica has studied. Keeping herself and her family healthy through a natural approach is her way of doing things.