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Goji Berries: Once Called Wolfberries
Fruits, Desserts, and Other Sweet Foods
Fall Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(3) pages: 11 to 12
These small berry-like red fruits were cultivated
most often in and near Qinghai, the Haixi
Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures,
or in and around the Qaidam Basin. Their early origins
may be the largest forest in Dulan County, the second
largest goji berry growing area in China said the head
of the Prefecture’s Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
The largest one is a forest in Wulongguo on the Kunlun
Mountains and known as the ‘Valley of Five Dragons.’
This is an
arid area with
to but eighty
b e a r i n g
that do taste
el sewher e.
here, as do
the wild black
are ninety percent of China’s total export production
cultivating several new species recently.
This area was once pelted with sand storms but goji
cultivation has helped reduce these weather-related
problems. They have also improved the entire
industry. One local legend tells of walking sticks from
goji trees used to treat many an ill patient. These
fruits are Lycium barbarun and Lycium chinense,
and related boxthorn fruits in the night shade family,
related to the potato, tomato, eggplant, chili pepper,
and tobacco plants.
TCM medical doctors say they have many anti-oxidants,
anti-inflammatory components that are good for the
heart, boost the immune system, reduce high blood
pressure, promote weight loss, slow aging, improve
eyesight, fight cancers, and are good for diabetics.
They also reduce skin damage from too much sun, and
probably delay Alzheimer disease. Another practitioner
said if taking Warfarin, a blood thinning drug, do not
eat them, and do keep out of the sun because they can
cause a rash, particularly if ingesting too many of them.
He added for those who want to improve their athletic
performance but not indicating which sport, and also
improve sleep, and/or weight, then do eat lots of them.
Clearly TCM practitioners have many thoughts about
the value of these bright reddish-orange berries native
eaten there as
long as written
fruits grow on
shrubs or trees
in groups of
one to three
to as ‘super
h u n d r e d
exported worldwide from China. When fresh they are
fragile. These days, the biggest and best ones are dried
in the sun, or with another heat source, then they are
packaged and shipped.
Recently large tracts of goji berries have been
commercially grown in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous
region in China’s north-central region. Since 2000,
there is a festival celebrating them in August. It is in
Yinchuan, the capital of the Zhongning County. This
new center of goji cultivation is now producing more
than one thousand tons of them each year.
One last comment: These berries have been called
‘fruits of the matrimony vine,’ ‘boxthorn plants,’ ‘big-life
berries,’ and ‘berries with the most vitamin C.’ Because
of this, add them to hot main dishes near the end of their
cooking, particularly those with lots of liquid, so this
vitamin maintains more of its value.
|Eight Treasure Congee|
½ cup dried Chinese red beans
1/4 cup raw peanuts
4 cups cooked sticky rice
1/4 cup rock sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup walnuts or blanched almonds, slivered
1/4 cup cooked pitted Chinese red dates, quartered
1/4 to ½ cup goji berries
1. Soak the beans, peanuts, and the rice in separate
covered bowls overnight; then drain them the next
morning, and cook them in separate pots until each one
is soft; then drain and combine them.
2. Cover the nuts with boiling water and refrigerate
them covered over night. Drain in the morning and rub
them in a towel to remove their paper-like skins.
3. Next, put them in a large pot with four cups of cold
water, add the peanuts and sticky rice and bring to the
boil. Now reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is
creamy and thick, stirring it often. Then, add the sugar
and salt, dates and goji berries and cook until all are
soft. Serve or refrigerate until needed.
½ roasted duck, bones discarded, meat torn into thin strips.
5 slices fresh ginger, cut into thin strips
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup rice wine
a spice bag with half stick cinnamon, three star anise, and one two-inch piece of lovage root
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 to ½ cup goji berries
5 ounces dried rice noodles, cooked until soft
1. Put duck, and all the other ingredients except the goji
berries and the rice noodles in twelve cups of boiling
water and simmer for half an hour.
2. Then remove and discard the spice bag and its
3. Next add the rice, soy sauce, goji berries, and the
cooked noodles and simmer for five to ten minutes.
|Goat With Goji Berries and Leaves|
1 pound cooked goat loin, slivered
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
2 cups goji or spinach leaves, slivered
2 egg whites
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 scallions, thinly slivered on an angle
½ cup goji berries
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn oil
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with one Tablespoon cold water
1. Freeze the meat for half an hour, then sliver it thinly
or cut it into thin matchstick strips.
2. Next pour half cup of boiling water over this meat
and let it sit for ten minutes, then drain it, and discard
3. Blanch the leaves for one minute in boiling water,
then discard the water and set the leaves aside after
tossing them with the ground Sichuan peppercorn
4. Toss the egg whites, cornstarch, salt, scallions,
cooked meat, goji leaves, goji berries, and the ground
Sichuan peppercorn and its oil in half cup of boiling
water. Simmer this for ten minutes, then stir in and
thicken with the cornstarch mixture. Serve on a preheated
|Silver Cloud Ears and Pear Soup|
2 large white cloud ears, soaked in two cups warm water overnight, drain and cut out and discard their hard center and the water, and sliver them
1 piece white rock sugar
3 Tablespoons goji berries, soaked for half hour in cold water, then drained and slivered
6 cups strained chicken stock
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced in quarter to half-inch cubes
1. Simmer cloud ear slivers for ten minutes, then drain.
2. Add rock sugar, goji berries, and stock and bring to
the boil before adding the pear pieces. Simmer this
for five minutes more, then serve in pre-heated soup