Goji Berry Plant Information | A Unique Edible Plant
Goji Berry Plant Information | A Unique Edible Plant
This blog post, titled Goji Berry Plant Information | A Unique Edible Plant, gives details on the edibility and propagation as well as 3 recipes of this medicinal wonder plant.
The goji berry (Lycium barbarum), also called the wolfberry, is a shrub that has purple flowers in the spring and early summer followed by bright orange-red berries in the late summer into fall. Gojis are native to China and are part of the nightshade family, which also includes tomato, potato, peppers, and egg plant.
Goji is a deciduous woody perennial in zones 5-9 that grows three to five feet in height, with long arching stems. The long slender leaves form in an alternating arrangement on the shoots. It flowers in early spring and the flowers are a purple to lavender color with 5 to 6 lobes. After flowering, green berries grow that turn bright orange-red when ripe. The fruit has 10 to 60 small yellow seeds and ripens from June to October.
Gojis can be propagated by both seed and cuttings. They need well-drained soil with pH levels between 6.8 and 8.1. Keep the soil moderately moist for the first few months or until you see new growth sprouting. Spread mulch around the base of the plant to reduce weeds and conserve moisture. Thereafter, allow the soil to dry out in the top few inches before watering again.
To plant by seed cut goji berry in half and plant berry as seed. Several seeds will germinate from one berry. Thin by cutting early sprouts to favor largest or prick apart if you can. Do not soak berries before sowing, as the berries will turn to gel. The planting Depth is 1/4″ and it takes 14 days to germinate.
Over the last seven years I have had two different goji berry shrubs and had one that almost did not grow at all and the other has grown great. I bought my first plant from Valley View Farms in 2008 in a 1-gallon pot. I put it in the ground and it never really took off. Last year I found a goji in a 1-gallon pot at a local nursery called Homestead Gardens and put it in my hugelkultur bed and it has done great. I had berries last year right after planting it and quite a few more berries this year as well.
In 2013 I bought seeds from Restoration Seeds and planted them. They germinated, but died about two weeks later. In the spring of 2015 I planted the remaining seeds, they all germinated and most survived.
This year I took cuttings from the Goji from Homestead gardens and they ALL took root. I even had one of the cuttings flower and produce fruit this year. If I had seen it flower then I would have pinched it off, as this takes energy from root production, but I missed it on this one.
Dried goji berries are cooked and added to several dishes including; rice congee, almond jelly, and Chinese tonic soups and is said to go well with pork, chicken and vegetable stir fries. The berries can also be used in herbal teas. Other culinary uses include eating the young shoots and leaves as well as making using the berries for the production of wine.
You can also find goji berry in yogurt, green teas, pieces in granola bars, and whole dried berries. They are also sold as juice concentrate, fruit puree, and pulp powders.
Goji berries are high in vitamins A and C as well as iron and fiber, and low in calories. One serving of about four ounces of goji berries provides nearly 10 percent of the suggested amount of dietary protein. Studies have cited the high level of antioxidants in goji berries, especially zeaxanthin. 
In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are eaten raw, brewed into tea, added to Chinese soups, or made into liquid extracts.
“Many health claims have been made for goji berries, including maintaining a healthy heart and circulation, boosting the immune system, protecting against cancer and increasing longevity, yet the medical evidence to back up these claims is weak.” *
According to Wikipedia  “Potentially harmful interactions may occur if wolfberry is consumed while taking other medications, such as those metabolized by the cytochrome P450 liver enzymes. Such drugs include warfarin, or drugs for diabetes or hypertension.”
Spicy Goji Berry Soup
- 100g (1 cup) dried goji berries
- 230g (1 cup) chopped tomatoes (1 small can)
- 450ml (3/4 pint) vegetable stock
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small chili, chopped finely
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, torn
- Wash and soak the goji berries for a few minutes to rehydrate them. (I let mine soak overnight for convenience.)
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute the onion and chili for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes, goji berries and cumin seeds. Stir for another few minutes.
- Add the stock, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh coriander and blend the soup until smooth.
- Decorate with a few fresh coriander leaves, cumin seeds and black pepper. (Optional: swirl in a tsp of yogurt or cream)
Raw Chocolate Goji Berry Energy Bar
- ¼ cup instant old fashioned oats, ground into a flour
- ¼ cup goji berries
- ¼ cup pecans
- 1 tablespoon cashews
- 1 tablespoon lucuma
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pitted date
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon cacao powder
- ¼ teaspoon pure maple syrup
- Add ¼ cup of instant old fashioned (or quick) oats in a high speed blender and blend until the oats form a flour. Add the goji berries, pecans, cashews, lucuma, cacao nibs, vanilla extract, date, olive oil and almond milk. Pulse and blend until the mixture is small and sticky.
- Spoon it out onto a bowl and knead with your hands for about a minute until all the small pieces form one large clump. Transfer it on a flat surface (I used a plate) and form the shape of a long rectangle. Flip it around so the other side can be flattened by the surface.
- Use a knife and cut off the top and bottom ends, then cut the bar in half. Put it in the freezer for the moment while you prepare the topping.
- Combine a teaspoon of coconut oil with ¼ teaspoon of cacao powder and maple syrup in a very small bowl and mix it up.
- Take the bars back from the freezer and drizzle this mixture on top of the bars evenly, then put it back into the freezer for 20 minutes.
Super Antioxidant Smoothie
Recipe type: Smoothie
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons cashews
- 2 Tablespoons goji berries
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1 banana, peeled and frozen
 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21169874  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goji
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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