First it was pomegranates, the once obscure fruit that now
is showcased in antioxidant-rich fruit juices sold across
the United States. Then açaí
berries and goji
berries entered the "superfood" market, drawing
people looking for tasty and nutritious additions to their
Yumberries range in color from white to pink, red and
purple, but the purple variety is said to taste the
In 2008, a new powerhouse berry is set to hit the health-food
scene, and it's one that may easily take over the market:
Yumberries (the new name for yang-mei fruit) have been grown
and enjoyed in China for thousands of years. They look a little
bit like a raspberry with a sweet-sour flavor similar to cranberry
and pomegranate juice. Their texture is unique -- slightly
stringy like the flesh of citrus fruit -- with a pit in the
Although the fresh berries (which rumor has it are delicious)
cannot be imported into the United States because of pest
concerns, yumberry fruit juice has already reached U.S. supermarket
shelves (and products are slated to grow significantly in
You can expect to see yumberry juice mixed with other fruit
juices such as cherry, blueberry and pomegranate. Like these
other dark-colored juices, yumberry juice is rich in antioxidants
and contains many vitamins including vitamin C, thiamine,
riboflavin, and carotene.
Yumberries may also be featured in slightly unorthodox products,
such as wines, cocktails, bakery goods and even dairy products.
Fresh yumberries aren't available in the United States,
but juiced forms are already on hand in stores.
Healthy Reasons to Give Yumberry a Try
Yumberries are rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC),
which are antioxidants that give the fruit their color. These
powerful compounds may:
Fight free radicals. OPC is said to fight oxidation
50 times better than vitamin E and 20 times better than
Reduce your blood pressure and protect your heart health.
Lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of cataracts.
Strengthen your cell membranes.
Fight inflammation and associated diseases such as arthritis.
Yumberries are also said to help clear up hard-to-digest
food in your stomach, cure stomachaches and "dispel summer
heat." They have been used since ancient times in China
for medicinal purposes, and as early as the 16th century,
the well-known herbal pharmacologist Li Shi Zhen said that
"Eliminate sputum, stop vomiting, helpful to digestion
and alcoholic drinking ... quench thirst, conciliate
the five internal organs, cleanse stomach and intestines,
remove the muddleheaded ... and be efficacious to cure
Further, because the trees have a high tolerance to pests
and diseases, they are often grown organically or with few
pesticides applied to them.
While yumberry trees are capable of being cultivated in the
United States, particularly in the Southeast, they are not
currently being grown for commercial purposes.
They are harvested only during a narrow window (from June
to July), and they are very perishable (like raspberries),
so unless you are traveling to China you are unlikely to find
them fresh anytime soon.
However, with superfruits like yumberries slated as one of
the top 10 food trends to watch for in 2008, you will likely
be seeing more and more of this yummy little berry.
The Delicious Powerhouse Fruit that Can Help Prevent Heart
Mangoes to Butternut Squash to Carrots: Why You Need More
Orange in Your Diet
November 28, 2007
New York Times December 12, 2007