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Bayberries are brilliantly colored, ranging from white to deep plum. They are approximately two centimeters in diameter and have a very knobby appearance. The small berry is made up of hundreds of tiny finger-like sections that are similar to the tiny vesicles in citrus fruits. There is a hard seed at the center that is about half the size of the berry. Bayberries are sweet and tart, with juicy pulp. The juice can stain hands and lips.
Bayberries can be found growing in tropical as well as sub-tropical climates year-round.
The Bayberry has grown in Southeast Asia and Japan for over 2000 years. Botanically known as Myrica rubra, this round knobby berry is often referred to as the Chinese Bayberry, for its native country. Though unrelated, it closely resembles the Tree Strawberry, Arbutus unedo, an evergreen shrub within the Ericaceae family which is far less flavorful and juicy. Packed full of beneficial vitamins and minerals, the Bayberry is considered a ‘superfruit’. In China, the fruit is known as Yangmei and its juice has been trademarked under the name “Yumberry."
Bayberries are loaded with vitamins, like riboflavin, thiamine and carotene and have very high levels of vitamin C. Bayberries have high levels of a powerful group of antioxidants called oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs, which help fight free-radicals in the body. OPCs are twenty times more powerful than vitamin C and fifty times more powerful than vitamin E.
Bayberries are typically eaten fresh, out-of-hand or preserved by canning, drying, or pickling. The berries are most often made into juice or wine for consumption. The Chinese Bayberry has a very short shelf life, which can limit its availability and can greatly limit the ability to export fresh Red Bayberries.
Bayberries have been used in the treatment of cholera, heart ailments and stomach diseases.
Bayberries are native to Southeast Asia and are not widely available outside of that region. Chinese exports of Bayberry juice and other products have increased exponentially over the last decade. In the southern part of China, south of the Yangtze River, the economy is dependent on the success of these exports. The juice is available in the United States, in New York City, and throughout Southeast Asia and Japan.
Recipes that include Red Bayberries. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Jasmine Tea & Jiaozi||Yangmei Coulis with Panna Cotta|
|Healthy World Cuisine||Yang Mei Tart|
|Konkani Cook Book||Bayberry Cheese Cake|