Buffaloberry: Funny Name, But Nothing To Laugh At
What do you think of when you hear “superfruit”? Magical powers? A banana with a cape? Do you know what the word really means?
The term was first introduced in 2005 as a marketing term. Typically it refers to a fruit that contains more antioxidants and health benefits than your average fruit. Some popular “superfruits” that you have most likely heard of are acai, jujube, pomegranates and lingonberries. I have another one for you to add to your mental rolodex, Buffaloberry. Funny name, but it is nothing to laugh at!
The Buffaloberry has been a source of nutrients for Native Americans for ages. Buffalos used to shine their coats against the fruit’s shrub, which is how the name “buffaloberry” came about. Even though it has been around for such a long time, this fruit is just now gaining popularity. The Journal of Food Science recently put a spot light on it by vouching for its large amount of lycopene and menthyl-lycopenoate, both being important antioxidants and nutrients for health. Buffaloberries also contain 4x the vitamin C of an orange!
Buffaloberries have a very vibrant red color and a tart flavor. Typically, it is eaten either fresh or dried. Recently, Buffaloberries have been gaining popularity with the wine industry as well because it is a natural colorant. The fruit has also been seen in jams, sauces and puddings.
Besides the proven nutritional content of the fruit, the Native Americans believed that buffaloberries were able to treat headaches, arthritis, and other ailments.
I am curious if these would taste like tart cherries. Has anyone tried these? It is on my to-do list!
Here are a few recipes if you want to give this “new” fruit a try!
To some, the raw fruit tastes sweeter and less acidic after frost. The fruit is a roundish, one-seeded berry about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide, scarlet to golden in color when ripe, and grouped along the stem.
For every 2 quarts of fruit, add 1 cup of water and crush in a kettle. Boil slowly for 10 minutes, stirring often. Drain off juice. It will be milky. For each 1 cup of juice, add 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and boil until it jells. It will turn a pale to deep orange when you add the sugar. Pour into sterilized jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
If the fruit is extremely ripe or has been through several frosts, you might want to use the recipe with either Surejell or MCP pectin; before a frost the fruit contains enough pectin to jell by itself.
Drying Buffaloberries – Native American Method
- Wash berries and remove stems.
- Put berries in a food grinder or grind on a stone to mushy consistency, and make soft berries into patties.
- Place patties on wax paper in the sun (or dehydrator)
- Rotate these every day so they do not mold in the sun. Patties should be dry in about a week. If they are brittle and break when bent, they are dry.
- Store in a jar or can with a lid in a cool, dry place.
Buffaloberry Spicy Sauce
grated rind of 1 orange
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
4 cups buffaloberries
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
Combine the grated rind of a fresh orange, 2 cups of water and 2 cups of granulated sugar in a saucepan. Mix and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups of cleaned berries.
Cook until berries pop. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Spoon mixture into a bowl and place in a refrigerator to chill. Serve chilled. This is a delightful red, spicy sauce and is best served with meat, as a flavoring.
I hope your week has started off well!