|Source: NY Times, is this in your fruit bowl?|
Recently, I was contacted by one of my favorite writers who was working on a story about superfruits. She asked me if I had time for an interview and said “I'll be talking to some hard core sciencey types, but also was wondering if I could get your Laurenly real world insight (a la, "do you really think a Dunkin Donuts Acai Slushee will keep cancer at bay?"). While I was
fairly very insulted not to be regarded as “hard core and sciencey” (why did I bother with the whole Masters of Science? Do I need a PhD?) I obliged. My Laurenly opinions:
Most fruits are super:
When it comes to produce (and not gummy candy or “juice” drinks) brightly colored means beneficial. There are food trends much like fashion trends. While we’re hearing about maxi skirts, minis are just fine. The same goes for acai and blueberries. Just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it is inferior.
Don’t look to vodka for your vitamins:Did you see the article, last month, in the New York Times about Dragon fruit? There’s a new superfruit on the block (see photo above, not sure I want to eat that). “Skyy is introducing a dragon-fruit-flavor vodka spring. Celestial Seasonings, the Colorado-based stalwart of herbal infusions, recently began pairing powdered dragon fruit with green tea. There’s a Sumatra Dragon fruit version of Bai, a thirst quencher made from the unroasted fruit of the coffee plant; a line of Lite Pom that blends a few swigs of dragon fruit with pomegranate juice; and a new pitaya-tinged cream liqueur called Dragon Kiss.”
This is where popularity turns into perversion. To answer the question above, nothing at a doughnut shop is improving your health. The same goes for flavored vodka with a smidgen of fruit (the real sign a superfruit has arrived). Quality counts and if you sample superfruits seek out a something as close to the original source as possible.
Superfruits and foods may be new to us but not necessarily new:
Though superfruits may seem to suddenly pop up, many of them have been consumed for thousands of years. I am a big Goji berry fan (though a client almost ruined them for me saying they taste like feet). Lest you think superfruits are only about heart health and cancer prevention gojis are also sexual tonics. I wrote about them last year for Valentines Day. I love the cocoa dusted gojis.
Pomegranates are also on my shopping list when they are available. With a family history of heart disease, I put on rubber gloves and shell those slippery seeds. I also add an ounce of pure pomegranate juice to seltzer every so often.
What ever happened to eating seasonally and locally?
It’s strange to me that on one hand we’re encouraging people to shop at farmers’ markets and join CSA’s. In another breath we’re mentioning mangosteen. There’s no mangosteen at my local market or anywhere close. There are delicious fruits and vegetables that I recognize and can pronounce.
It’s fine if you want to try dragon fruit (though the Times didn’t rave about it’s taste despite its “good looks”), just don’t forget about the plums, blackberries and cherries that are all “super” right now.
What’s your verdict on superfruits- super or hyped? What’s the most silly superfruit use you’ve seen? Have you tried goji berries, acai or dragon fruit?