The Fruit

The Fuit

The fruit, commonly known as açaí berry or açaí, is a small, round, black-purple drupe about 25 mm (1 in) in circumference, similar in appearance to a grape, but smaller and with less pulp and produced in branched panicles of 500 to 900 fruits. 

The exocarp of the ripe fruits is a deep purple color, or green, depending on the kind of açaí and its maturity. The mesocarp is pulpy and thin, with a consistent thickness of 1 mm (0.04 in) or less. It surrounds the voluminous and hard endocarp, which contains a single large seed about 7–10 mm (0.3–0.4 in) in diameter. The seed makes up about 60-80% of the fruit. The palm bears fruit year round but the berry cannot be harvested during the rainy season.

A powdered preparation of freeze-dried açaí fruit pulp and skin was reported to contain (per 100 g of dry powder) 534 calories, 52 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, and 33 g total fat. The carbohydrate portion included 44 g of dietary fiber with low sugar levels, and the fat portion consisted of oleic acid (56% of total fats), palmitic acid (24%), and linoleic acid (13%). The powder was also shown to contain (per 100 g) negligible vitamin C, 260 mg calcium, 4 mg iron, and 1002 IU vitamin A.

Fresh açaí has been consumed as a dietary staple in the region around the Amazon river delta for centuries. The fruit is processed into pulp for supply to food product manufacturers or retailers, sold as frozen pulp, juice, or an ingredient in various products. In a study of three traditional populations in the Brazilian Amazon, açaí palm was described as the most important plant species because the fruit makes up a major component of their diet, up to 42% of the total food intake by weight.