The Goji berry or Wolfberry a highly nutritious plant where everything is edible. There is no waste in this very healthy food; both the berry and the leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or brewed as a tea. The berries can be eaten fresh or dehydrated. The berries and leaves are an excellent source of nutrition for humans, exotic pets that are herbivores or omnivores. The Goji is also great for birds. The Goji berry is a Lycium fruit. The newer leaves and tender shoots make wonderful salad, more nutritious than any other green you can grow or buy.
The Goji has been a huge part of traditional Asian medicine since ancient times. The Chinese call it gouqizi. The first known publications were as early as 100 A.D. The Goji is also known as the wolfberry, matrimony vine, Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree or Lycium barbarum.
I began experimenting with the Goji plants the beginning of this growing season. They are easily ten feet high and are branching out all over the place. Though I hadn't expected berries until early fall it began fruiting a couple of months ago. It is a beautiful plant. My concern at this point will be over wintering in South Dakota. I am hoping it survives that harsh winter and fruits next year. I will be supplying both dehydrated berries and leaves next year if the little fellows survive the winter. I would love to be picking and dehydrating this year except I can't bend or twist because of my very recent spine surgery.
"The Goji berry is over 15% protein, has 21 essential minerals and 18 amino acids as well as lycium barbarum polysaccharides as well as more antioxidants carotinoids than found in any other food." http://www.phoenixforagingrolls.com/Organic-Goji-Berries-020.htm.
They have essential fatty acids, carotenoids, six essential vitamins including a very high amount of vitamin C, calcium, riboflavin, potassium, selenium, Beta Carotene and many other nutritional values. Lycii fructus or Lycium fruit is the pharmacological name or reference.
For those watching or restricting their salt or sodium intake the Goji only has 75 milligrams in 28 grams of dried goji and it is a natural salt like a tomato would have.
One concern is the high amount of iron, please use in moderation especially for birds. Don't go overboard with the iron content. But, as with most anything moderation is the key. Nine mg of iron per 100 grams of dried berries.
Humans can add the berries and leaves to most anything. They taste wonderful, and the nutritional quality are beyond anything else. Consider the loads of protein for a plant type food!!!
The taste of the fresh berry is said to be a cross between a strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry. I personally haven't decided what it tastes like yet, though it does taste good! It is not overly sweet (not a ton of natural sugar like many fruits) so blends well with most anything.
Add it to your bird or parrots food as well as your herbivores or omnivores exotic pets. I will supply links to buy the Goji's but I will be supplying it myself (I hope) next year. Don't wait, this diet boost is through the roof.
Keep the Veterinarian and the doctor away! Get your immune system ready for winter.
Goji berry image or goji berry picture (our plants)
Goji blossom, goji plant (beautiful purple blossoms)
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