The Acai berry is the fruit of the acai palm. Most species of acai are native to South and Central America. They are found in abundant quantities in the Amazon basin, growing mainly in swamps and floodplains. Acai palms grow up to 15-30 metres in height. They are slender with pinnate leaves which are about 3 metres long. Each acai palm tree yields about 20 kg of fruit every year.
The acai palms have been growing for thousands of years in the Amazon area but it's only recently that they have become popular. When consumed, the acai berries leave a slightly bitter taste in the mouth which is akin to the taste of chocolate. Due to this property, the acai berry is also used in the preparation of drinks such as fruit sodas, fruit juices, smoothies, and so on. Therefore, it is very convenient for consumption.
Acai is a small, round, black-purple drupe (In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part, exocarp or skin; and mesocarp, or flesh) surrounds a shell (the pit, stoneor pyrene) of hardened endocarp with a seed inside.). It has a circumference of about an inch and has a grape-like appearance though is it slightly small in size. The fruit contains a large seed which is about 7-10 mm in diameter. The seed makes about 80% of the fruit (in terms of weight). Each year, two crops of fruits are harvested.
The acai berry is considered as one of the most fruits in Brazilian part of the Amazon basin. It is an important part of the diet of the natives of the area and account for 42% of the total food intake by weight. The fruit has a high level of bioactivity. Within 24 hours from the time harvesting, the fruit needs to be processed.
Acai berry is often considered as a super food. It is believed to have many health benefits and is therefore gaining quick prominence worldwide. While it's now that the world is learning about the health benefits of the acai berry, the indigenous people of South and Central America have been benefitting from it since ages.
The acai is a storehouse of antioxidants and this is what makes is an extremely healthy fruit. It helps in ridding the body of harmful toxins in a relatively short period of time and thus ensures long term health benefits.