The Goose berry- 'king of all fruit'

The goose berry plant is a struggling bush up to about three feet tall, that produces a juicy often round edible fruit in different varieties. The ripe fruit may be red, yellow, orange or at times green in color. Over centuries the berry has been found native in continents such as in Europe, North western Africa, East Africa, and southeast Asia, growing in the wild, with different native names such as 'entuntunu' in Uganda.

Over the years different societies enjoyed the berry as a snack,while others such as those in Asia attached medicinal attributes to it and quite often in china, it is referred to as king of all fruit. Recent studies have however brought to light significant health benefits associated to regular consumption of this small wild fruit. Because of this the berry is gradually transforming from a self-propagating wild fruit to a commercially grown crop, and can be found on stalls in markets for use not only as a snack but as an important ingredient for kitchen use. As a matter of fact some African countries such as Uganda as well as south Africa are investing millions of shillings funding studies to find methods of large scale production and packaging in order to boost their export.

Ripe goose berry fruit
Ripe goose berry fruit

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Nutritional benefits

slow aging

Goose berries can play a significant role in slowing down the rate at which the aging process happens in the body. Studies have found that one of the factors that lead to aging is constant damage to cells resulting from over use, and other harmful chemicals in the environment.

Goose berries are a rich source of vitamin C. The body needs vitamin C for formation of collagen, which is used in building and maintaining body tissue such as cartilage, bone and blood vessels. The body is constantly under exertion to meet the hectic demands of the rapidly moving world, this means working long hours, and getting involved in rigorous physical activities. This, with time exposes the body tissues to degenerative processes as a result of over use, as can be seen in the different forms of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis, and low back pain(lumbar spondylosis).

Regular intake of goose berries provides the body with the required amounts of vitamin C, there by replenishing the the body tissue, slowing down the degenerative processes and thus slowing down the effects that come with age. One must keep in mind that this works even better with a regular balanced low in cholesterol diet, in combination with physical exercise. Recent studies have linked goose berries with prevention of premature grey hair. A combination of all the above keeps the body with a youthful appearance

Low Calorie Snack

100g of fresh berries is equal to 44 calories. Considering the overwhelmingly rising number of overweight youth, the fruit provides a healthy snack for people on a weight controlling program.

Rich in fiber

The fruit is a significant source of fiber, which is required to aid the peristaltic movements of the Gut and may prevent constipation and colon cancer. In addition, it provides an easy snack for patients of type 2 diabetes who require a fiber rich diet. Studies show that the berry contain considerably high amounts of phynolic phytochemicals such as anthocynins as well as antioxidants, which work against cancer, aging, and neurological disorders.

Additional benefits include;improved eye site since the fruit is a source of vitamin A, required in maintaining cells of the eye. The fruit is also a significant source of minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium which are important in the functioning of the neuro-musculoskeletal system of the body.

Uses

1. The ripe fruit can be eaten whole as a snack at any time of the day. They can be found at a local market usually still wrapped in their coverings or in supermarkets well packaged and ready for consumption.

2. A good collection of them can be used to make juice solely or may be mixed in combination with passion fruit, oranges, lemon, or mango juice in a coke-tail

3. They can also be used as ingredients in desserts such as pies, they may also be used for flavoring beverages such as soda and milk, jam and sugar syrups.

4. They can also be used in flavoring savory dishes with meat or sea food


Goose berry cutting, ready to be planted
Goose berry cutting, ready to be planted
Goose berry cutting planted
Goose berry cutting planted | Source
Goose berry bear root plants before planting
Goose berry bear root plants before planting
Goose berry plants growing in separate pots
Goose berry plants growing in separate pots

How to grow goose berries

The goose berry ought to gain a regular slot on the home shopping list since they are quite affordable and available at the local market fresh in their papery coverings, or on shelves in the supermarkets well packed and ready for consumption. For a constant supply of fresh fruit one needs to have them growing in the backyard vegetable garden.

propagation; This can be done by sowing seeds at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. They are best planted at soil temperature between10-250C, with plants spaced at 50cm apart. some researchers however argue that the most reliable means of propagation is through cuttings rather than seeds.

To propagate goose berries by cuttings; select a healthy looking stem about 9 inches long and cleanly cut it from the parent plant. Remove all excess side shoots. Remove any buds below the leave with a sharp knife. the cutting is now ready for planting. Dig a small hole about and set the prepared cutting about 2 inches into the ground, then gather soil around it and gently firm it.

You can also buy the bushes as bare rooted plants or as potted plant. If you are planting a bare rooted plant, you need to ensure that you don't plant it too deep. The stem will have a clear soil line which shows how deep they should be planted. It is unwise to plant them deeper than this. Dig out a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate all the roots, and then cover them firmly with soil. Avoid compacting the topsoil too much. If you are planting more than one, space them about 1.3 meters apart in each direction.The plant is known to tolerate harsh conditions of temperature and wind, although may do better in a partial shade environment. While the fruit is forming the plant requires well moist soils and may require watering if the season is low on rains. It is also important to keep in mind that caterpillars are a major pest, but can be dealt with by hand picking the larvae soon after they hatch.You may also need to prune off any old branches for better results.



A type of goose berry plant growing in a pot
A type of goose berry plant growing in a pot

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