Food as Medicine: Goji Berries and Chrysanthemum Flowers


Many of us have seen dried goji berries in supermarkets and health food stores, but may not know how to use them other than just snacking on them out of the bag. Traditionally found in the Northwestern region of China, goji berries have been used for more than 2,000 years as a medicinal herb in soups and teas, as well as the production of tinctures, wine and juices.


It is easy to see how these tiny fruits have gained traction in North America; studies have revealed numerous goji berry health benefits including but not limited to the following:

  • protects against cancer and age-related eye diseases due to high levels of antioxidants as well as vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids

  • promotes healthy skin due to the presence of beta-carotene, an essential plant phytochemical

  • treats depression and anxiety while improving sleep

We've combined these super berries, with chrysanthemum flowers in our flower jelly recipe for a double dose of "feel good" and "flavor". Similar to goji berries, chrysanthemum flowers are traditionally used to make tea in Asian countries, and are lauded for their healing properties including;

  • antioxidant properties

  • anti-tumor properties

  • anti-inflammatory properties

Their health promoting benefits, like goji berries, are attributed to their phytochemicals and their overall chemical composition. Steeped together with goji berries these two ingredients create the perfect blend of floral tastes in this jelly recipe.

 

Chrysanthemum Flower & Goji Berry Jelly


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz gelatin (we recommend konnyaku)

  • 3/4 cup rock sugar

  • 5 1/2 cups water (you may use more water if you prefer more wobbly jelly)

  • 6 tbsp dried whole chrysanthemum flowers

  • 2 tbsp dried goji berries

For Garnish

  • 1 tsp dried chrysanthemum flower petals, or petals torn off of one or two flowers

  • 1 tsp chopped goji berries

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil on the stove and add in whole chrysanthemum flowers. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Remove from heat, strain out flowers and add in goji berries and dried petals.

  • Return to a simmer, add in rock sugar, stir until dissolved.

  • Pour the boiling liquid into the bowl with gelatin and mix for 5 - 8 minutes until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

  • Once dissolved you may do a plate test, by spooning some of the mixture onto a cold plate and putting it in the fridge for a few minutes.

  • If the set jelly is too stiff for your liking, you may add a few tablespoons of water. If jelly is too wobbly simmer for a few more minutes and re-test

  • When you are pleased with the consistency of your jelly, spoon into your mold. If you are using a silicone mold, make sure it is on a tray so you can move it easily into the fridge.

  • Let cool for 5 - 10 minutes at room temperature, before transferring to the refrigerator to finish setting. The jellies take minimum 2 hours to set.

  • Once the jellies are set, unmold and serve sprinkled with extra chopped goji berries and flower petals.

Enjoy!

 

References:


Han AR, Nam B, Kim BR, et al. Phytochemical Composition and Antioxidant Activities of Two Different Color Chrysanthemum Flower Teas. Molecules. 2019;24(2):329. Published 2019 Jan 17. doi:10.3390/molecules24020329


Jimenez-Garcia SN, Vazquez-Cruz MA, Garcia-Mier L, et al. Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of secondary metabolites in berries. Therapeutic Foods. 2018:397-427. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-811517-6.00013-1


Ma ZF, Zhang H, Teh SS, et al. Goji Berries as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Their Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019;2019:2437397. Published 2019 Jan 9. doi:10.1155/2019/2437397

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