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Malpighiaceae, Malpighia glabra, Barbados Cherry, Acerola

June 22, 2009

The Barbados Cherry, as the name suggests, originated in the Caribbean and can be found on most of the island therein, it is also naturalized in areas throughout Central America, Colombia and Venezuela. The tree is thought to have been cultivated for millennia by indigenous populations.

The cherry is about the size of a temperate climate cherry, one to three centimeters in diameter. The color varies from yellow to orangish to bright red.

This is considered to be the fruit with one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C in the world, between 500 and 4,000 milligrams per 100 grams, which represents between 8 and 65 times the amount of oranges. One or two cherries provide the requisite daily amount for an adult. A jam or preserve made from the Barbados cherry can contain up to 800 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100 grams. Additionally the fruit is rich in phosphorous and iron.

The cherry is great eaten raw, and if harvested in quantity can be made integrated into any number of things, such as juice, wine, and syrup.

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