I was running some errands and stopped by the grocery for more carrot juice, and I picked up a juice named Acai, something I had never seen before. What a really odd flavor, sort of berry chocolate with a hint of something I can not place. Maybe lavender. And something cinnamony.
It was really interesting and had a silky texture.
Facebook wants me to drink this stuff more than it wants anything else in the world.
The açaí palm, also aqai (IPA: /asaˈi/) is a member of the genus Euterpe, which contains 8 species of palms native to tropical Central and South America, from Belize south to Brazil and Peru, growing mainly in floodplains and swamps.
The genus is named after the muse Euterpe of Greek mythology. Euterpe are tall, slender palms growing to 15–30 meters, with pinnate leaves up to 3 meters long. Many of the palms that were once in the genus Euterpe have been reclassified into the genus Prestoea (Riffle, 2003). The species Euterpe oleracea is usually called Açaí Palm, after the European derivation of the Tupian word ïwasa’i, ‘fruit that cries or expels water’.
Acai palms are fast growing, and are cultivated for both their fruits and for their superior hearts of palm. Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in recent years, and Acai is now cultivated for that purpose primarily. The closely related species euterpe edulis (jucara) is now predominantly used for hearts of palm.
It needs some vodka.
I heard it was made from the crushed dreams of Red Staters..
The biggest smoothie company over here in the UK, Innocent, has been pushing açai smoothies for a while. As ever, I’m dubious about the ‘superfood’ marketing, and they cost a lot (about £3.50 for a litre) but damn do they taste good.
Oh yeah? I know something else that is really interesting and has a silky texture.
Are you kidding, John? You’ve NEVER heard of Acai?
My friend and I started importing that and Guarana from Brazil like 10 years ago, and while nobody had ever heard of it then, both products are quite ubiquitous these days.
Another great product – but much harder to find – is called Acerola. It tastes like a cross between an orange and a cherry and is crazy high in Vitamin C.
Check out this company – Sambazon. That’s who my friend and I turned the reins over to years ago.
It’s the new antioxidant du jour with supplements touting weight loss to cures for Parkinson’s. I actually don’t like the taste and find it overpriced although Costco has a tasty blueberry blend that is pretty good and more affordable.
Ah, West Virginia.
It’s supposed to naturally suppress your appetite. I’m not buying that part of the lore.
Very tasty, but cost prohibitive.
A vast improvement over wheat grass juice, the super-food of the eighties. That stuff was evil-tasting.
And if you like the juice in its processed form, you’d be stunned by the fresh version, which to my knowledge is only available in Brazil. Stuff looks like chocolate ice cream, has the consistency of yogurt, and is served on pretty much every street corner.
Acai is amazing stuff; tried it in Brazil four years ago. So much energy/vitamins/micronutrients that it made me feel like I could read minds.
Makes a great smoothie with some bannanas, yogurt and frozen blueberries.
@GG: I’m amazed they have intertubes access already.
JC- you should buy a juicer if you drink a lot of carrot juice. Save a lot of money and the fresh juice tastes so much better and is more beneficial.
Give me fresh apple-carrot-beet juice over acai any day. And granny smith apple-cucumber-celery juice is great in the summer time, too.
@Hawes: Tastes like balls.
The Grand Panjandrum
Welcome to the late 20th Century.
I refuse to drink anything that won’t get me high, drunk or wired. If I want something healthy I drink wine.
Yep, super high in antioxidents and nutrients. I’ll bet the store where you found it carried a few interesting flavor combinations.
Another "superfood": goji berry (aka wolfberry). Expensive, but slightly addictive in my experience.
Actually, most berries (blueberry, cranberry, raspberry) are good sources of antioxidants.
You’ve never heard of Acai ?
I envy you. You seem to have awesome control over email spam!
Açaí is damn good stuff. I don’t know how they make it stateside, but down here it’s usually blended with bananas and guaraná syrup and served cold.
You can find all kinds of interesting tasty stuff down here in Brazil…
Yum, wheat grass. I still have them whip me up a double when I’m at the coop deli.
I started drinking coconut water in Hawaii and still pick up the occasional carton. They call it "nature’s sports drink" because it has something like 15X the electrolytes as Gatorade and something like 1/10 the sodium and none of the additives. And oh yeah, it can be used in place of blood for IVs.
It appears that one of the benefits of your life in WV is the absence of friends pushing Mona Vie on you.
"ACAI" is a a veterinary acronym in Spanish for "The horse has kidney trouble."
PS, a link for the "coconut water has15X the electrolytes as Gatorade" thing in my prior:
What you really want is something called Yo-J, which is a yougurt and OJ mix (I’m not joking). It’s da bomb. Sold in the dairy section, natch.
@SLKRR: It’s usually just juice, and doesn’t approach the juice bar stuff.
And I can tell you’re in Brazil by the cedilla on the "c". Spent six months living in Rio, and would about have an aneurysm every time I tried to type with that keyboard layout.
It is hyped extravagantly in my junk mail as a palliative for whatever ails ya: fat, pimply, bad breath (it doesn’t work on ‘stupid’)…Oprah uses/drinks/does it, I hear…
Haagen Dazs makes an Acai sorbet that’s excellent (although not as good as their pomegranate/choc-chip ice cream)
I like to say I am just good at tuning things out, but a more accurate assessment would be that I am oblivious. You guys are always bitching in the comments about the PJ commercials, and I never notice them. If I am reading something, someone can talk to me for ten minutes before I hear them. That goes over real well with the ladies, let me tell you.
True story: I worked with someone for ten years before discovering she wore wigs. I thought she just spent a lot of time on her hair and dyed it a lot.
You have "fat""junk", and "pimp" in one sentence. That probably tripped the filter 3 times over.
I get the feeling this is a very unenthusiastic product placement adverstisment.
Drink Acai!! Its definitely has an intersting flavor!
Can we get this in English? Oh, wait……nevermind.
I’m guessing your liver is really, really pissed at you. It will probably get revenge by turning you yellow 3 minutes before your next job interview.
Your tastebuds are pretty good if you can pick out lavender in a fruit drink.
I picked up sodas and beer for the big game Sunday. The local Krogers is giving out 3-d glasses for the super bowl commercial.
Years ago, I was very seriously ill. First I lost a lot of weight and all my energy. Next, my hair was falling out. Then my belly blew up with ascites. I was in constant pain and could barely walk. I jaundiced. Obviously my liver was failing. I was hospitalized for a brief period, but the doctors were flummoxed. My white count was 24, which is apparently really bad. They sent me home to die. Did I mention I didn’t have health insurance?
My family brought in a nutritionist recommended by a local health food store. I was bedridden, sores and all. I was too weak to chew, so they made me fresh juices. Especially beet and apple, which cleanse the colon and the liver. I took milk thistle and dandelion supplements. This went on for several weeks, and then i started getting better. My stomach went down, my hair grew back (curly!) and my energy returned, better than before.
Just thought I’d give a little testimonial to juicing and nutritional therapy.
I’m so behind the times…I still haven’t even hopped on the pomegranate juice bandwagon.
Maybe I’ll look for that açai (I can’t do the accent-aigu ) on the "i" with this keyboard for some odd reason. I don’t eat enough veggies, so it might help offset that.
I’ve had the acai juice (and the Innocent Smoothie, though I prefer their Cranberries and Raspberries); it’s nice if you throw it in a blender with some blueberries and pineapple. Booze optional. Wheatgrass tastes like lawn clippings, as you’d expect, but I have noticed a miraculous effect on my skin if I have a shot or two during the week.
I agree that you should get a juicer, JC, if you’re lovin’ the carrot juice. They are kind of a pain to clean– even if you have a superduper dishwasher you have to scrub parts of them– but the fresh juice is worth it (try: granny smith apples, carrots, a lime, a bit of ginger. YUM).
If you can scrape together the cash, buy a nice Breville or find a Champion on eBay (I have one and bought a food mill attachment that also makes peanut butter). They will OM NOM NOM NOM whole apples or citrus in seconds without you having to peel them or anything.
Wow, that really is excellent testimony.
I have family members who swear by juice fasts, juicing generally, and raw foods overall. They look fantastic, great energy, and my sister’s health improved dramatically.
Does that diet include sausages, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes with butter? No? Feh.
Juice fasting a few weeks a year has definitely helped me. In addition to making me feel better (no eczema, fewer colds, fewer headaches, fewer floaters in my eyes, etc.) it’s slowly been nudging my overall eating habits in a better direction– processed food and animal protein is really unpalatable in the few months after a fast.
While I think a lot of "nutritionism" is quackery (can you "cleanse your liver" when it is in fact the cleanser? You could stimulate it, maybe…), it seems there is something to be said for giving the body a break from solid foods now and then, so it can sort of clear the backlog. Flooding it with vitamins and minerals (from actual plants and not decontextualized supplements) is an added bonus.
Edit: all of that being said, I did have a blue cheese burger and a beer for dinner tonight. It IS Friday, after all.
"It was really interesting" is not the kind of food-and-beverage endorsement I would be looking for, as a (former) food and beverage professional.
That being said, I like juicy stuff. So I might just give it a whirl on your "it’s really weird" recommendation.
Oh, Jen- it was very good. It is just unique.
Svensker- just eat more kraut and less sausage. And butter is preferable to margarine and other rancid oils.
And I make an excellent cabbage-potato-andouille sausage soup.
Yes about the juice fasts. I haven’t done one in years…I recall an extended grape/grape juice fast back in the day really gave me a new lease.
Also, a disclaimer about my coconut water rave: it doesn’t have 1/10 the amount of sodium that Gatorade does. Usually less, but nothing like that.
John Cole @ Top:
Freud was right: everything is about sex.
Even fruit juice.
Acai is wonderful! I had it for the first time in Brazil several years back. There’s little juice stands all over the place that offer it. A good combo I found:
-Frozen packet of Acai juice.
-Soy milk or Apple juice. (I prefer soy)
-Random berries (optional)
Sprinkle top with granola, or you can blend it in. Makes a great energy breakfast meal/drink/thingy. However, it should be taken in lieu of a meal, instead of as a drink with a meal, since it’s very fatty. I had several Brazilians tell me that the Americans that go down there and have it with a meal wind up getting pretty chunky.
Acai is well on the way to becoming trendy. Check out Mona Vie… $40 for a wine-bottle of the stuff, guaranteed to have the highest ORAC value (whateverTF that is) of any drink known to humanity. Hey, it looks like Science! It must be true!
My sister is a MV distributor and sent me two bottles for Xmas. I dutifully tried it at the recommended dosage (4oz/day) for a month, but didn’t notice any particular effect. Though strangely, I can’t stop thinking about it now…
1. Juicers: I bought a Jack LaLane juicer (
edit: Oh, no. The dreaded less than symbol caused the rest of my post to get eated. Oh, well.
I first had this during a thunderstorm in the Amazon. Everything tastes better in a circumstance like that.
1. Juicers: I bought a Jack LaLane juicer (for less than $90) a couple of years ago and really enjoy juicing carrots, apples, pears, and pineapples. recently i discovered frozen fresh pineapple at trader joe’s so now i can have a yummy glass of pineapple juice anytime for $1.59. the texture is amazing.
and the cleanup is quite easy if you do it immediately. just rinse thoroughly with warm water.
2. my mom called me last week with a url for acai. (she has no computer and considers me her personal goggler.) she, like JC, was unfamiliar with the juice. as i poked around the web, i got lots of links for selling it as a direct marketing business. so i think acai is the ponzi scheme of the month. like fen-phen a couple of years ago except it won’t kill you.
3. last night while driving home, i heard a talk by Michael Pollan on "nutritionism". he pointed out that many americans these days think eating is primarily about helping/hurting one’s health. that is, "i eat x because it decreases my chance of getting cancer".
Yes, terrible. We really have an odd connection with nature and our bodies.
Magisterludi — agreed on more kraut and smaller sausage. And of course, only good fresh virgin oils and real butter. Tastes better, is better.
For what it’s worth, the word from the Brazilians who run the bar down the end of my road is that if you’re drinking Acai, you need to make sure you;’re also exercising, in which case it will help you build muscles; if you just sit round and drink it you will get hella fat.
paul in kirkland
It’s the next thing people are pushing on us as a miracle drug.
Check out the reference on Pg 55.
vitamin world has this in liquid ($25 for 32 oz) and pills. taste sucks. too ‘medicinal’.
gnc has a version with ‘grape skin extract’ that is much better tasting ($25 for 30 oz). also have pills.
the vitamin world version works as well as the wine bottles. just started the gnc brand so not as sure how well it works.
i was introduced to it from a ‘wholesaler’. had to buy a case of 4 bottles (look like wine bottles) but they are $40 each bottle!! can easily become a wholesaler and be your only customer at $35 each. but automatic deduction from account every 28 days.
this stuff seems to curb my wife’s sweet craving. i have trouble with my right heel that only physical therapy seems to help. but since i started drinking this, my heel never hurts.
Acai went from a nothing product to an immediate enemy: Why? Because I didn’t learn about it on Oprah. I learned about it while deleting a s**tload of spam emails from people who wanted to tell me that it was on Oprah.
Very. Badly. Managed. Rollout, Acai-peeps. Thou shalt build up enough buzz prior to going on Oprah and getting spammers involved.
So I hate Acai. Spammers made me hate it.
This acai stuff should go mano-a-mano with grass jelly drink. I wonder who’d win?
My ol’ lady’s been drinkin’ this stuff for a coupla years. All I know is I ain’t gettin’ laid anymore.
Yup. The whole campaign reeked of spam and scam…
Phoenician in a time of Romans
It’s one of a bunch of superjuices – mangosteen, noni, acai and goji.
If you’re buying it for anti-oxidants, you’re getting ripped off. You can get more anti-oxidants from ordinary juice for much much cheaper, just by drinking a little more. And the nutrient value probably isn’t worth it either. Go for pomegranate juice or grape juice instead.
See here – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18220345
Yep. I think Michael Pollan’s manifesto makes a lot of sense:
Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly plants.
I noticed it in the grocery store after reading about it so I picked up 6 different brands. First impression; it stinks! The taste test; the worst drink was the pure fruit (a taste combination of blueberry and grilled eel sushi, both yummy on their own but not a good combo) and the best tasting had more blueberry than anything else except for the sugar content. I’ll stick with the "American" grape, cranberry, blueberry and raspberry juices.
acai is the new pomegranate. trendy, theoretically good for you, and reddish-purple in color. had a mojito with acai berries in it once. it was crazy, the berries actually completely defused the mint. it tasted like pure soda water. not a fan.
Açai is great. The best way to consume it, however, is not as a juice, but the pulp blended with a banana an served in a bowl. When I have it in Brazil it’s served with a little guarana syrup to add a little sweetness.
It’s rich in xanthocyanins and has omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
so i think acai is the ponzi scheme of the month. like fen-phen a couple of years ago except it won’t kill you.
Give me jaboticaba any day!
Chris do Cavaco
"Açai is great. The best way to consume it, however, is not as a juice, but the pulp blended with a banana an served in a bowl. When I have it in Brazil it’s served with a little guarana syrup to add a little sweetness."
I miss having acai na tigela – acai in a bowl. Like a purple slushy with banana, syrup and – yes! – granola.
It’s still my favorite hangover remedy.
Do you just buy any new thing you see in the store?
Just read on wikipedia:
" In the English-speaking world, "goji berry" has been used since the early 21st century as a synonym for "wolfberry"."
Wow. Haven’t actually stumbled across that before. Since the early 21st century . . .
Have you ever tried One Natural Experience Amazon Acai? I think it’s the smoothest tasting and has all the omegas still in it…most other companies seem to take those out of their packaged juices…