- Blueberry, Iconic Superfood
Blueberries, which are in season from July to September, are a well-known nutritional food. The real value of the blueberry lies within anthocyanin, its purple pigment. Anthocyanin is great for boosting the immune system and protecting the eyes, as well as preventing failing eyesight. Furthermore, it cleanses the blood and prevents the veins from clogging up with bodily residues. Blueberries are also great for anti-aging since they contain abundant antioxidants, and are also known to help with weight-loss and constipation. Frozen blueberries are popular, but fresh blueberries are available until September.
When choosing blueberries, it is recommended to choose berries that are coated with a white powder and have a tight, dark-blue skin. Blueberries can be consumed whole. However, they can also be blended with milk or yogurt. Another attractive feature of blueberries is that they can be used in diverse dishes including cakes, tarts, and jam. Recently, processed foods made with blueberries, such as wine, juice, jam, and dried powder, which were initially developed by farming households and local governments, have been attracting people’s interest.
The domestic cultivation and production of blueberries is increasing in line with their increasing popularity. According to the National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science of the Rural Development Administration, the combined size of blueberry farms in South Korea was just 24 hectares in 2006, but that figure had increased 90 times to 2,305 hectares (including areas planned to be farmed during fall) by 2015. The number of households involved in blueberry production comes to 6,581, and the expected production volume is 9,222 tons.
- Korean Black Raspberries, Full of Summer Energy!
During the summer we often learn about the efficacy of seasonal Korean black raspberries and foods made with them through TV programs and other media platforms. The literal translation for bokbunja (Korean black raspberry) is ‘breaking a chamber pot,’ which suggests that the Korean black raspberry is widely known for its health benefits. It is widely known to be suitable for men since it activates the release of male hormones and facilitates urination by strengthening the kidney function. Moreover, the Korean Black Raspberry is also effective in prevent aging and boosting the immune system because it is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin B, vitamin C, and polyphenol, just like certain other types of berries. It is also great for skin beauty, obesity prevention, and male prostate-related diseases.
Because the Korean Black Raspberry has a pleasant sweet and sour taste, it is often used in various types of processed foods. If you visit the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation’s cyber market (www.eat.co.kr), and go on to the local specialty shop, you will find various processed foods on sale such as Korean black raspberry marinated grilled Pungcheon eel, Korean black raspberries, traditional Korean sweets made with Korean black raspberries, and Korean black raspberry gochujang among others. You can also obtain a wealth of information on Korean black raspberries and related recipes if you visit the Berry & Biofood Research Institute’s website (www.gbri.re.kr).
- More Raspberries, More Beautiful!
Many people confuse raspberries with Korean black raspberries because they look similar. The Korean black raspberry has a reddish hue before it ripens, and once it turns fully ripe, it has a slightly sour taste. However, it differs from the raspberry in that the latter turns red once it is fully ripe, and is very sweet. Another difference between the two berries is that the stem of the Korean black raspberry is white and forms a vine shape, while the stem of the raspberry is reddish-brown and grows straight.
Raspberries are known to help activate the brain function, energy metabolism, and discharge bodily waste because they are rich in potassium. Furthermore, they are great for skin care and fatigue reduction as they contain lots of vitamin C too. Lastly, they are known to be effective in preventing lifestyle diseases such as arteriosclerosis, cerebral stroke, etc.
The literal translation of raspberry (santtalgi) is wild berry. However, in recent years, more farming households have begun producing raspberries on a large scale. It is best to eat raspberries whole during the production season, but since raspberries are harvested temporarily from May to June, more raspberry processed foods such as medicinal ingredients and alcoholic beverages are being developed.
When choosing raspberries, it is best to pick firm large berries of a light reddish color. In order to prevent loss of vitamin C while washing raspberries, they should not be soaked in water but simply rinsed under running water as quickly as possible.
- Mulberry, a Refreshing Summer Nutritious Food
Mulberries, the fruit of mulberry trees, are green at the beginning but start to turn black as they ripen. Once they are fully ripe, they become very juicy, sweet and sour, and exude a very refreshing scent. Because mulberries grow from big trees, it is impossible to produce them in greenhouses, so it is difficult to find fresh mulberries out of season. Therefore, people often use mulberries by storing them in the form of alcoholic beverages, sugared mulberry extracts, pickles and such like. In recent years, various types of nutritious foods made with mulberries, such as jam, juice, jelly, etc. have become popular. An alcoholic beverage brewed with mulberries, called Sangsimju or Seoninju, is considered a special treat because of its beautiful color and sweet taste.
There is an old saying that eating lots of mulberries will turn white hair black, which shows how healthy mulberries are thought to be. As with other types of berries, mulberries are rich in anthocyanin, and they are also rich in vitamin E, which is a great antioxidant as well as being effecting in improving problems related to diabetes.