Acerola

King of vitamin c

Acerola (pronounced ah-sir-oh-la) is a small, cherry-like fruit that grows on large, dense shrubs throughout the tropics of South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. Often called the “Amazon cherry” or “Barbados cherry”, its taste ranges from tart to semi-sweet with the Brazilian varieties being noted as the richest and sweetest. Each serving of acerola contains up to 30 times as much Vitamin C as an orange!

Benefits of Acerola

The History of Acerola

Traditionally, acerola has long been consumed as a natural aid for many ailments.

Originally known as the “Barbados Cherry,” the acerola was brought over to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors during the 16th century.

In the 18th century, the Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus, gave acerola its scientific name, Malpighia emarginata. This was in honor of a contemporary doctor and anatomist, Marcello Malpighi.

The natives of South America fell in love with the cherry and discovered the many medicinal benefits of the fruit as well as its delicious flavor. Today, the largest acerola harvests exist in the Amazon, and juice from acerola is as widespread in Brazil as orange juice in the United States.

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Harvesting Acerola

Acerola grows in the wild and through cultivation throughout Brazil, primarily in the northeastern regions. The fruit grows on short stems in shrub-­like trees around 3­6 meters (10­19 feet) in height. The diameter and weight of acerola fruit varies between 2­4 cm and 5­15 g, respectively. The fruit has a thin skin that may range from reddish­ yellow to deep red when ripe.

Acerola fruits are usually picked manually during the coolest part of the early morning and must be handled with care, since they bruise easily. Amafruits only harvests ripe, organic acerola then purees the fruit and strains out the seeds. We add nothing to the fruit. The result is a smooth, very tangy pulp that will add serious zip to your smoothies and juices.

In the Amazon region of Brazil, there are approximately 3­5 harvest periods per year. When grown from seed, the acerola tree can produce fruit in the 2nd or 3rd year, while cuttings may fruit in the first year. Older trees can yield from 30 to 60 pounds of fruit, and productivity will generally begin to level off or decline after 15 or 20 years of good growth.

The largest acerola harvests take place in Brazil, but plantings of the fruit are increasing worldwide. The rise in plantings is due, in part, to the fruit’s increased use in producing vitamin C supplements.

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