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Acai Berry, a Renowned Superfood, Goes to Waste in Guyana

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First Published: 25th of February, 2021. Guyana, South America. GSA News

Last updated: April 26, 2023 at 18:06 pm

We are living in a era of increased natural resource discovery in Guyana…from oil and gas to gold…we hope these resources will create a brighter future for ALL Guyanese, but there is another great natural resource which we would like to tell you about that is yet to be discovered and exploited in Guyana – the Acai Berry.

We stumbled upon this beautiful article posted by a Guyanese citizen, Sharon Correia, and we decided to republish it here because it spotlights a magnificent, untapped resource of Guyana’s soil.

Acai has been named a superfood and with good reason.

Photo by WebMD

Acai contains chemicals that are antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to protect body cells from the damaging effects of chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation). According to some research, acai has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Chemicals in acai might also reduce swelling, lower blood sugar levels, and stimulate the immune system.

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In neighboring Brazil, the Acai industry is a billion dollar industry that spans the length and breath of the country. You can hardly drive through a city in Brazil without seeing one of those beautiful signboards, “Acai Sold Here.” In Brazil, the delicacy is prepared from pulp into a semi-liquid snack or desert enriched with a variety of toppings and rendered in a variety of flavors and presentations.

But little did we know that this superfood goes to waste in Guyana’s forests. Indeed, the Acai Berry has not yet been utilized as a food source in Guyana since the development and history of Guyanese culture did not lend to it, but we do hope that our industrious citizens will harness this priceless resource in the near future.

ACAI BERRY pronounced ( ah- sigh- ee)…Palm fruit.

by Sharon Correia

Did you know that Guyana has an abundance of this fruit? Guyana has different varieties of this super fruit. My friends from the interior regions would tell you about “manaka aka manicole bearing,” “tooroo ” or ” turu” and “lou.”

These are all different types of the famed acai berry. As a child, we would walk across the savannahs with our parents. The primary reason being to harvest tooroo and lou. For some reason, both the tooroo and lou palms grow in clumps in the sandy soil surrounding the savannahs.

The men would always walk with their trusty 12 gauge shotguns as everyone knew that those berries were a delicacy of the tapirs (bush cow). More oftentimes than not, we’d be skinning a bush cow before our journey was over.

The other type that we call manicole or manaka grows profusely everywhere in the interior. In fact, the next time you’re in an aircraft before landing at Timehri, if you look out on the landscape you’ll notice a host of palm trees. These are the manicole trees from which we also harvest the heart of palm.

There used to be a Heart of Palm factory at Rosignol some time back. Remember the famous manicole broom that is used to beat the “ole higue”? Well that’s the very tree I am describing to you.

To prepare the healthy drink from the berries, you must first wash them thoroughly. They are hard to the touch. Then you get warm water (not hot) and soak them in a container. After some time (maybe an hour or so) the skin becomes soft.

You mash the berries and remove the seeds. Strain the mixture which looks like a purple milk. Sweeten to taste and enjoy to your heart’s content. ????. Some folks would say ” tooroo tea.” There is a ton of information on the health benefits of acai berry. The health food stores are filled with supplements containing acai berry.

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