Buffalo’s Have Berries?
No, Jessica Simpson, and they don’t have wings either!
What I am talking about it is the newly discovered fruit that is making headlines in a big way. Scientists believe that the buffaloberry could hold the title of the next superfruit. You’re probably staring at your screen in disbelief right now. And I’m sure you are thinking that it’s going to take a lot more convincing before you add it to your diet, right? No problem, I’ve got your covered. Here is all you need to know about this interesting berry, as well as some tips on how to include it in your next meal.
What’s in a Name? That Which We Call a Buffaloberry by Any Other…
Scientifically speaking this berry is known as Shepherdia Argentea, but it is more commonly known as the buffaloberry. If you are wondering why the strange name, legend has it that the berry received its name because of the fondness the plains bison (buffalo) had for it. The berries are exclusively native to Western North America, on American Indian reservations, and amazingly enough, they are capable of growing in areas that are inhabitable to any other plants.
As for how it grows, this delicious, sometimes sour, berry grows on a thicket-forming shrub and is considered to be a member of the olive family. But what is it exactly that makes it the next superfruit? Glad you asked!
Superpowers and Superfruit
In the shortest reasoning possible, the buffaloberry is a superfruit because it is high in fiber and could have cancer-fighting properties! Need I say more? The buffaloberry medicinal and nutritional value has been well documented throughout history. Traditionally, American Indians used these berries as a way to flavor bison meat, as well as to prevent sickness. When prepared correctly, buffaloberries can treat constipation, swelling, bites, boils, headaches, tuberculosis and gallstones.The berries also contain Lycopene, which is the compound found in tomatoes, giving them the red color. Lycopene has health benefits that lower certain types of cancers, most notably lung, stomach and prostate cancers.
Buffaloberry and Your Diet
Unfortunately, for people like me who live along the east coast (Rock Hill, SC in my case), finding wild buffaloberries is a challenge. However, there are many online sources that you can search for and order buffaloberries through. But how are you suppose to eat it? Many people enjoy eating these berries raw, but for the others, here are a few ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Buffaloberry Jelly: With every 2 quarts of the berries, add 1 cup of water and crush in a kettle. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring often. Drain the juice. It will have a milky consistency. For each 1 cup of juice, add 1 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil until it jells together. The color will turn from pale to deep orange when sugar is added so don’t be alarmed. Pour into jar and place in boiling water for 15 minutes to seal it.
Spicy Sauce: This sauce is served best in the traditional American Indian style, with meat.
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3 cups of buffaloberries
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
How to do it:
- Combine the grated rind of an orange, two cups of water and two cups of sugar in a saucepan
- Mix over moderate heat for 10 minutes
- Add the three cups of berries to the mix
- Cook until berries pop
- Add ¼ tsp of cinnamon and cloves and cook for five minutes
- Stir frequently throughout this process
- Spoon mixture into a bowl and place in refrigerator to chill
- Serve chilled
Dried Buffaloberries: It is perfectly OK to eat these berries raw, but you can also dry them out and they will look similarly to raisins. To do so:
- Wash berries and remove the stems
- Put berries in a food grinder or grind them on a hard surface to create a mushy consistency
- Make the mashed berries into patties
- Place on wax paper in the sun
- Rotate daily to prevent mold. Patties will be dry in a week’s time. You can test them to see if they are dry by if they are brittle and break when bent.
- Store in a jar or can with a sealed lid
Although this fruit has a funny name, don’t let it scare you away from incorporating it into your diet. This superfruit is full of good nutrition that is necessary and a valuable part of your daily life. Why not give them a try, today? And a word to the wise, if you ever come across a buffaloberry bush, enjoy the fruit but watch out for the thorns.
Did you love learning about the newest superfruit, the buffaloberry? If so, let us know in the comment section below or share your own blog with us.
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