Making Super Smoothies With Acai for Optimum Health

Super Smoothies with Brazil’s Superfood, Ašai

Three Ašai BerriesGrowing in both the Amazon Rainforest, as well as the subtropical South Atlantic Rainforest, is a palm tree called “Jušara” (joo-SAH-rah), that produces the widely popular fruit, “Ašai” (ah-sigh-EE). Ašai is consider if not the, then one of the most very nutritious foods found on the planet. Sparing you the details, Ašai is loaded with about every great vitamin and mineral your body needs, and it has great proteins, quality fats and is loaded with anti-oxidants.

Ašai Must be Made into a Pulp

The ašai berry has a very thick, inedible outer skin. At it’s center is a woody seed. In between the seed and the outer skin is the rich and edible pulp. Note that even this pulp does not taste all that well. It is sour, not sweet, and almost always mixed with one or more other foods to improve the taste.

Ašai PulpThe pulp is extracted either with industrial-sized machines, artisan-sized machines, or by hand. In either case the process is about the same. The berries are soaked in warm water for a half hour. They are then put into a bowl (giant, large or small), and agitated in some way so as to break the outer skin of all the berries. A filter screen is put in place and water is passed through the berries repeatedly, flushing out the pulp. Hence, the pulp of ašai always contains added water. Extra profit can be made by excessive diluting with water, and the typical supermarket frozen ašai pulp is thin and weak. I buy mine at organic fairs or natural food markets.

Strands of AšaiThe Quality Rating of Ašai Pulp

Due to the above, ašai pulp is rated, “fine” (thin), “medium” and “gross” (thick). Fine will have 5% to 9% ašai and the rest is water. Medium will have 9% to 14% pulp and the rest is water. Thick will have more than 14% pulp content. It is hard to make ašai pulp with a pulp content above 40%. You simply need lots of water to flush out the pulp. Thick ašai is not available anywhere. Buyers here aren’t that savvy and the price would be shocking relative to the prices for fine and medium.

Ašai Spoils Very, Very Fast

Due to it’s high oil and anti-oxidant content, both the ašai berry itself and the pulp made from the berry, spoil very, very fast (though this doesn’t keep people from selling it and consuming spoiled ašai). Once harvested, the berries must be de-pulped ideally within 24 hours and no longer than 48 hours. Once made, the pulp should be consumed within 24 hours or frozen immediately, or frozen with 24 hours of having been made.

Strands of AšaiTwo Basic Ways to Eat Ašai

Most everyone in south Brazil as well as all over the world thinks of ašai as a dessert, or smoothie, or juice. Yet in the Amazon and the northeast, where it was first popularized, it is very rarely eaten sweet. In fact, it’s most common to be eaten on the day it was made fresh, without having ever been frozen.

In Brazil, all types of food fall into two basic categoriesŚ “Doše” and “Salgado”. “Doše” means “sweet”, and is anything from desserts to juices, to smoothies and more. “Salgado” translates to “salty”, but in this usage of the word it might be best to think of it as “not sweet”. This can cover bland, salty, sour, bitter and simply regular food. It’s a catch-all phrase in this context.

Washed Ašai BerriesAšai Super Smoothies

For the purpose of this article we’ll focus on using ašai to make smoothies. The two most common additional ingredients for ašai smoothies are banana and guarana syrup. Guarana is a seed with an extremely sweet syrup that can be extracted. Also, the smoothie can be made extremely thick and served in a bowl with a spoon. This is actually more common than a smootie, and you’ll see it on menus as “tigela de ašai”. Often, you’ll see the option to substitute strawberries for bananas.

What I’m talking about here are smoothies that you make yourself in your own home in a blender where you are free to experiment all you want. Because you are working with frozen pulp, and likely frozen bananas, the better the blender the better the experience. For example, I brought in a Blendtec blender from the U.S., the best blender on the market. I bought a 110v to 220v transformer so I can use it down here.

Extended List of Possible Ašai Smoothie Ingredients

I’m going to end the article here with a great list of potential ingredients for your smoothies. It’s so very fun to experiment that I won’t try to give you measurements and ratios and such. Have fun experimenting. Know that the more of these ingredients you use in one smoothie, and I’ve done this, the heavier and denser the taste. If you want your smoothie to be light and fresh, try fewer ingredients.

  • Frozen ašai pulp – One pack of 100gms, or 100ml, will due for one tall smoothie. Double it for twice the fun.
  • Frozen bananas – I use 2-4 small bananas. They don’t have to be frozen. I peel them first and then freeze them because I want them frozen.
  • Bee Pollen – This is my primary secret ingredient. Bee pollen is the single most nutritious and complete food source on the planet. The bee pollen I use comes from the rainforest and is extra nutritious. I use one tablespoon.
  • Honey – My preferred sweetener here is honey, because the honey here is amazing and honey is a superfood.
  • Guarana syrup – I’ve actually never used this at home, though for no particular reason.
  • Agave Nectar – Only this year did this sweetener become available where I live. Note also that you only need one of these three sweeteners.
  • Coconut water – You will need to add either water or coconut water, or both. This is how you’ll control thickness. Coconut water has a fairly neutral flavor and is very nutritious. It can be expensive, too.
  • Coconut Milk – This can make the smoothie extra creamy and will definitely add coconut flavor.
  • Raw coconut oil – Also very, very nutritious and has a strong flavor. One teaspoon is enough. It tends to solidify when combined with frozen ingredients, but the strong blenders will still mix it in completely.
  • Tahini – This is my other secret ingredient. I’ve come to love Tahini, which is a creamy spread made entirely from lightly roasted sesame seeds. It contributes a great flavor and lots of thickness. I use 1-3 tablespoons, though I don’t measure, I just pour it in.
  • Nuts and seeds – Raw nuts and seeds are very healthy and contain excellent fats and proteins. My favorites to add to this smoothie are cashew, almond and sunflower seeds. They are also great for thickening.
  • Cinnamon – Cinnamon adds a great flavor. I buy it whole and ground it in a coffee grinder.
  • Nutmeg – Much like cinnamon. A little goes a long way.
  • Ground Seaweed – Seaweed is one of the most complete nutritious superfoods. I buy it dried and either ground it first in a coffee grinder or if it’s fairly ground already I put it straight into the Blendtec, which is very powerful. A teaspoon of powder is very nutritious and doesn’t alter the taste of the smoothie.
  • Fresh Arugula – Sounds crazy, I know, but fresh arugula leaves are extremely healthy and if you don’t go crazy with them, they don’t affect the taste. When you get used to them as I have, you’ll enjoy their subtle presence.
  • Whey protein powder – This is optional for those who are working out and taking whey protein as a supplement.
  • Raw eggs – This is another optional ingredient for those wanting added protein. Be careful to use only organic eggs from a known source. I get them from my own chickens.

The Taste is AMAZING!, and the Rush Even Better

My ašai smoothies are the best tasting smoothies in the world (biased opinion). I’ve experimented with any and all combinations of the above, also altering quantities of each ingredient. Do what works best for you!

About the Author

Joe Naab, Author of Brazil for LifeJoe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He offers a two-hour private phone consultation for those who want more specialized information to suit their specific needs. He also coaches people through the entire expatriation process and can help those interested to obtain Brazil’s Business Investor Permanent Visa.

11 thoughts on “Making Super Smoothies With Acai for Optimum Health”

  1. Hi Joe!

    You have made a very useful and detailed work! Congratulations!

    Even me, being brazilian, didn’t know a half of things you wrote about ašaÝ.

    thanks for the post!

  2. I’m brazilian but l’ve been in the US for 11 years now
    I moved here when l was 19 ..lm from Criciuma Sc 3 hours from Florianopolis.
    I like to get some advices about investing
    I want to go back…but lm afraid l don’t meet the expectations for my family ..
    I like to get a good job when l go back…something that l could use the English (but not teaching) or spanish.. (yes l speak portuguese fluently) and l like to know how to invest in real state better.

    Thanks.

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