Plug in your immersion blender; there’s a new superfruit in town. The buffaloberry is a small, tart, red berry native to North America, and it’s chock-full of nutritious goodness.
Following in the footsteps of other so-called “super” berries like goji and acai, the buffaloberry is rich in lycopene and other antioxidants which are thought to prevent cancer and slow cellular aging. They also contain high concentrations of carotenoids, which are responsible for the bright red pigment of the fruit, and could be used as a natural food dye.
The berry—which is actually a member of the olive family—is sweet enough to be eaten fresh or dried, like a cranberry. It can also be made into a jam or syrup with wide-ranging cooking uses, and alcohol manufacturers are interested in using the acidic fruit to make wine.
Right now, there’s very limited commercial production of the fruit, and it is primarily used as part of the diet on Native American reservations in the Dakotas and other parts of the Midwest. If the production of buffaloberries expands, they could be a valuable source of income for areas of the country (like the Northern Midwest) that are rocky and have nutrient-poor soil that doesn’t sustain most other crops.
Moral of the story? Keep an eye out, because buffaloberries could be headed soon to a Whole Foods near you.