British Columbian health nuts and foodies are in the front row for the emergence of a new trend: Fresh goji berries, grown right here in the Fraser Valley.
Goji berries are native to China and are grown and dried in mass quantities there, where they are believed to have healing properties and are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
After five years of research and effort, Peter Breederland of Gojoy (www.gojoy.ca) has succeeded in commercially harvesting fresh goji berries and now sells them at select retailers in fresh punnets, frozen flat-packs, and pureed into smoothie boosters.
Dried goji berries are quite sweet and make a great addition to baked goods, desserts, and salads. Fresh goji berries on the other hand taste more like a slightly sweet tomato and are actually in the nightshade family- they have freshness and a mild acidity that makes them perfect for savoury dishes.
After spending an afternoon at the Gojoy farm sampling goji berries and delicious dishes starring this unique ingredient, I was gifted a box of products including fresh and frozen gojis. Recently I cracked out the frozen packs and whipped up this delicious soup, inspired by a goji and red pepper jelly I had at the farm.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
3 cups goji berries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 teaspoons red chili
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
Goat cheese to garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
- Add the peppers, gojis, seasonings, tomato paste and stir, cooking, for 5 minutes.
- Add the liquid and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Puree using an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve with crumbled goat cheese and sourdough.