The goji berry is a very cheerful looking bright red fruit that packs a powerhouse punch of nutritional benefits great for your health! Jammed with Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B6 plus antioxidants, this little fruit does a lot of work for how little food it is! With its recent rise to fame, more and more people are looking to add the goji berry plant to their home garden.
The goji berry, known by its botanical names Lycium barbarum L. var barbarum or Lycium chinense mill var. Chinense, is a sour little fruit that many consider to be a superfood. A member of the Solanaceae family, the same family as tomatoes, it originates in China. Only the berries on this tall, leggy shrub are eaten, but it can be used as an ornamental addition to the garden, or as a hedge. It produces long branches with small thin leaves, purple flowers, and small bright red fruits that dangle from the limbs like bells.
Known by many names ranging from wolfberry to Chinese boxthorn, matrimony vine, and more, this perennial will take several years to first produce its berries. You can speed up the process by planting a mature goji berry purchased from a local nursery and only wait one growing season. If starting from seed, this plant can take up to three years to produce your first crop of goji berries.
Keep an eye on your plants: this vigorous and leggy bush can be invasive, as the roots can send out suckers to extend their domain. Seeds too easily germinate and sprout up creating a wild grove of branches that need to be well pruned each year to let in light and keep the goji berry plants manageable.
Find a nice and sunny location in your garden that will be the forever home of your goji berry. When planting, think about how large the full-sized bush will get, and make sure that even at full size, it will have full sun, it suffers even in partial shade.
Extracting seeds from goji berries is fairly easy. Either start with a dried berry or wait for your berries to dry out. Gently cut it open and with your fingers roll the tiny seeds out of the fruit and onto a plate. These seeds can then be stored or germinated.
Ants and aphids often will show up on your goji berry plants. They can damage leaves and transmit diseases. They can be hosed off, or killed with pyrethrin. Additionally, for the ants, try leaving ant traps around the base of the branches to keep them from invading.
Our entire recipe consists of goji berries, dried blueberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and walnut halves. Now, not only do these ingredients offer great taste and texture, they also are (as the title suggests) super foods. This means they are loaded with amazing nutritional content that our bodies love.
Sometimes even coconut water isn't going to do the trick, and then I step up my game with this sweet and tart berry smoothie. This flavor-packed drink has five (yep, five!) different types of nutrient-packed berries: goji berries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. It's packed with plant-based antioxidants and phytonutrients.
First, blend up the goji berries in your blender. I like to do this before I add in the rest of the ingredients. This way, you can break up the hard texture of the goji berries fully and prevent any small pieces from ending up in your finished smoothie.
To blend the goji berries, add them to the blender container with a couple of spoonfuls of warm water. Next, blend the goji berry and water mixture for about 30 seconds, or until the berries break down and form a thick paste. You may need to pause the blender to scrape down the sides with a spatula if they're getting stuck to the container.
After you blend the goji berries, uncover the blender and toss in the rest of the smoothie ingredients: frozen berries, coconutmilk yogurt alternative, coconut water, a banana, and a little ground cinnamon for extra flavor.
Goji berry (Lycium barbarum L.) is a native shrub to China belonging to the Solanaceae family. Common names of the crop include Chinese wolfberry, Himalayan goji, Tibetan goji, Fruktus Iycii, gougizi, goji berry, matrimony vine, Chinese boxthorn, Ningxia wolfberry, red medlar, and mede berry. It is widely cultivated and used throughout the arid and semiarid regions of northwest China (Figure 1). Goji berries have been used in both fresh and processed forms for food and medicine for more than 4,000 years in China (Wang et al. 2015). The goji berry fruit is known as a \"superfruit\" thanks to its high levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as other medicinal benefits recognized in many countries around the world. The term \"superfruit\" is frequently used to refer to fruit extraordinarily rich in antioxidants and nutrients (Chang et al. 2018; Himelrick 2018). Goji berry has nutraceutical properties. Nutraceuticals, also called \"functional foods,\" aid in the prevention or treatment of certain diseases and disorders. Since the 2000s, goji berry has been sold in Western countries as a nutraceutical product and as an antiaging remedy. Thanks to effective marketing strategies, this crop has rapidly grown in North America, southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean over the last several years (Potterat 2009).
This crop can be grown in Plant Hardiness Zones 4b to 9b as defined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Figure 2). Therefore, most of Florida's climate is favorable for goji berry, and a few Florida growers have cultivated it for years. This species can tolerate infertile and unfavorable growth conditions and hence can be mistakenly considered invasive, but FDACS DPI (Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry) botanists in Gainesville, Florida, have concluded that goji is not an invasive species (Alex de la Paz, personal communication). The prominent health benefits of this crop may be highly profitable for Florida growers. The objective of this article is to provide a general overview of how the goji berry can be grown in Florida.
Goji berry is a deciduous woody shrub that can naturally reach 12 feet tall with a spread of approximately 4 feet. Cultivated goji berry shrubs are typically 3 to 6 feet tall due to periodic pruning. The long stems have a yellow-brown skin (A and B in Figure 3). The stem is branched with 0.2-to-0.4-inch thorns. The branches are slender, gradually curving and drooping like a weeping willow (Figure 3A). The grayish leaves are commonly ovate- to lanceolate-shaped, measuring between 0.6 and 0.7 inches in both length and width, and are somewhat succulent (B in Figure 3). The purplish flowers bloom from June to September and are followed by setting green berries that turn scarlet or orange-red as they mature from August to October (C and D in Figure 3) (Cui and Wang 2000).
To obtain high berry yields, it is necessary to ensure appropriate water supply, especially during the period of blooming and fruit-setting. Irrigation management of goji berry depends on plant size, soil type, and time of year. Generally, large shrubs require more water than small ones, and sandy soils require more water than clay soils. Goji berry sets and develops berries in summer when irrigation frequency is greater than in spring and fall. Goji berry is susceptible to waterlogging and should not be planted in lowlands that do not drain well. Soil water content for optimal growth ranges from 60% to 70% of field capacity. In general, approximately 1 inch of irrigation water per week may be sufficient, but the recommended irrigation rate is based on historical evapotranspiration (ET) records at local weather stations (Zhang et al. 2012).
Goji berry belongs to the same family as tomato (Solanaceae), and its cultural and nutritional needs are somewhat similar. Goji berry grows best on fertile soils. Fertilizers have the greatest impact on goji berry growth when applied in springtime. Especially beneficial is nitrogen fertilizer, followed by phosphate and potassium. Recommended nitrogen fertilizers include urea, ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and UAN-32. Recommended phosphate fertilizers include triple superphosphate and double superphosphate. Recommended potassium fertilizers include potassium sulfate and potassium chloride. Adding organic materials and compost to sandy and loam soils may help the soil better retain moisture and nutrients and improve the soil environment by reducing the need for the excessive application of chemical fertilizers. In addition, the Solanaceae fertilizer recommendations based on soil testing for other Solanaceae crops are likely to work well for goji berry.
Netting the crop can prevent birds or squirrels from foraging berries. Fencing can keep rabbits and deer away from the leaves and young stem shoots. The main diseases occurring on goji berry include powdery mildew, runny gum disease, and root rot. Spraying 2% copper sulfate solution once a week helps protect against runny gum disease. In addition, good air circulation also prevents powdery mildew from infection (Li et al. 2006). Goji berry hosts pests such as aphids, goji berry mites, and goji berry leaf beetles, which all may be controlled chemically. Spraying agricultural soap on the leaves is also effective to control aphids (Li et al. 2006). Please contact your local Extension office for more information about disease and pest management.
Both fresh and dried goji berries have many reported health benefits, including boosting the immune system and flu protection (Ren et al. 2012), preventing fatigue, antiaging, relieving headaches and insomnia, improving circulation and weight loss, protecting the retina and improving vision, protecting the liver and kidneys, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease (Sun et al. 2017), and preventing neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (Chang et al. 2010). Many physiologically active ingredients, such as polysaccharides, flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals, provide health-enhancing effects (Kocyigit and Sanlier 2017; Figure 8A). 153554b96e