ACAI POWDER HISTORY
The acai is a tropical palm tree native to the Amazon rainforest in South America. It grows abundantly in the floodplains or Varzea of the Amazon basin in Brazil, where annual precipitation can exceed 2500mm. The acai palm is usually between 30-40 meters high and grows in small groves of about 20 trees. The fruit of the acai tree is harvestable in the dry season between May and November. During that time it is an essential part of the diet of the locals, who then drink up to 2 litres of diluted acai pulp per day. Also, the rest of the year acai remains a prominent part of the daily diet of the Brazilians, accounting for 40% of the total food intake of traditional Caboclo populations. Acai pulp is traditionally served in gourds called "cuias" with tapioca and can be eaten either salty or sweet, and in southern Brazil it is eaten cold mixed with muesli.
TREATMENT OF ACAI POWDER
Our acai comes from Pará, in the north of Brazil. Local people who earn their living harvesting acai berries are known as ribeirinhos or "people who live on riverbanks". These ribeirinhos form cooperatives that harvest the acai fruit every day and take it to market places before it is transported downstream for processing. The fresh berries are then carefully washed before the pulp is extracted, pasteurised and frozen. Our acai is freeze-dried within 24 hours of harvesting to preserve the maximum amount of antioxidants as these unstable compounds begin to decay immediately. Precisely these antioxidants are responsible for most of the healthy properties of acai.
The quality of our freeze-dried acai powder is evidenced by the vibrant deep purple colour. Freeze-drying is exposing the acai pulp to temperatures of - 40°C in a vacuum environment, in which all water is extracted through a special process called sublimation. Other ways of processing acai such as spray drying (heating to temperatures above 80°C to extract moisture) and standard freezing can result in a brown powder with greatly reduced levels of antioxidants.
Antioxidants in fresh acai are 70 TE/100g (Trolox equivalent, the measurement of the antioxidant capacity of a substance compared to Trolox, an antioxidant derivative of vitamin E), which is the highest of all fruits, twice the antioxidant level of blueberries and ten times that of grapes. By freeze-drying, the pulp, up to 80% of the vitamins and minerals in the fresh pulp can be safely preserved at room temperature for up to 18 months.
Acai is known for its antioxidant properties, which are rich in vitamin E.
Freeze-dried acai powder can easily be used in your daily diet by adding it to juices, smoothies, yogurt or ice cream. It is an easy way to benefit from the healthy properties of natural antioxidants.
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