Besides being photogenic, the acai bowls are incredibly delicious and come with several health benefits. Have you ever wondered about how acai berries are cultivated or where does acai come from?
The acai bowls are named after the acai berry, also known as the ‘superfruit’, growing naturally in South America’s rainforests. The acai berries, topped with banana, granola, and syrups or exotic fruits, are served as acai bowls. They can work wonders on your immune system, and dieticians often recommend them for weight loss.
Where Does Acai Come From?
This member of the grape family grows on a tall-branching palm tree. The Amazon river basin and estuary are the ideal regions for these palm trees. Acai berries are round-shaped, and have dark purple skin. The yellow flesh surrounds a large seed.
In the Western world, acai remained virtually unknown for a long period. It was only ten years ago when it became popular and is now widely used in ice-creams, vodka, etc.
Acai berries offer the following health benefits:
- The nutritional profile of acai berries is impressive. These have low sugar but high fat, along with some minerals and plant compounds.
- These are enriched with antioxidants that help neutralize the free radicals’ effects in your body.
- Many studies have highlighted the efficiency of acai in lowering blood cholesterols.
- Test-tube studies suggest that acai may work as an anti-cancer agent.
- Acai improves your heart’s health and boosts cognitive function.
Need for Protected Cultivation
Apart from finding an answer to “where does acai come from?”, you need to know that this fruit’s cultivation has a substantial impact on the environment. The Acai palm trees play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion in the tropical areas subjected to high precipitation.
Inspired by this, many companies develop and implement sustainable cultivation strategies and programs using acai trees. This can also help in preserving and protecting the native Acai sites.
The lifespan of the pulp of acai berries is only two days, which means that even if you wish to export the berries, you need to convert those into frozen purees or freeze-dried powders.
Growing Acai Berries at Your Home
Usually, acai berries are scarce in regions outside South America. So, many people wish to grow fresh acai berries in their homes. If you are also planning to do so, then you need to consider the following points:
- Check the Climatic Conditions: Acai grows best in tropical or temperate climates. High humidity and periodic waterlogging in soils are the ideal conditions for growing acai.
- Check the Soil: Your soil should be rich in organic content. The pH should remain between 4.5 to 6.5.
- Monitor the Environmental conditions: Being a typical species of dense Amazon rainforests, acai require very little light for survival and growth. So, do not overexpose it to sunlight. The annual sunshine required by your acai plant is between 1400 to 2500 hours.
- Propagation: You can propagate the plant both by seeds or by shoots. A seed of acai properly germinates in high humidity conditions, which takes about 25 to 30 days. You can transplant the seedlings into poly bags or wooden boxes when they reach 5 cm of height.
- Planting: Do not plant the tree in the soil until it reaches 20 to 30 cms of height. Always consider planting in times of high precipitation.
Final planting is not the end of the process of acai cultivation. Care for your plant, water it thoroughly, and keep the soil saturated. It would help if you also used a palm-fertilizer for feeding your plant twice a year. Consider all the factors for getting your ‘superfruits’ within 3 to 5 years of planting.