Super-fruits are fruit that tend to have high nutritional value, high anti-oxidant capacity, and high consumer appeal. Some super-fruits are quite common, such as the Concord grape. Others are more exotic, and just starting to make inroads to the United States, such as baobab. Acai is a very successful super-fruit from Brazil.
Acai is the Brazilian palm berry. Acai contains high anti-oxidant capacity, having ORAC scores of around 167 (micromole Trolox equivalent per gram). The acai berry became very popular in large Brazilian cities in the late 1980′s, and has since become popular in the United States.
Acai generally comes to the US as either a freeze dried powder, flame dried powder, or fresh frozen. The most potent form is freeze dried powder, followed by fresh frozen. Flame dried powder has a degraded anti-oxidant capacity due to thermal degradation of the fruit by the flame. Fresh frozen also suffers some degradation, but is still a reasonably active anti-oxidant.
Acerola, also known as the Barbados cherry, is a shrub that contains small red fruits, 1/2″ ro 1″ in diameter. These tangy fruits are loaded with vitamin C, containing 1000-2000 mg per gram in ripe fruit (potentially even more in almost ripe fruits).
Acerola is often used in beverages for flavor and to boost vitamin C. Acerola is grown throughout south and central America, and has been harvested in the US as a source of vitamin C (in Florida)
Baobab is a fruit from Africa that has recently been approved for use in the EU and UK, and even more recently has received GRAS status in the US. The baobab super-fruit is naturally dehydrated. It grows on the African baobab tree, and is encased in a thick hard shell. The fruit pulp itself is off-white, and is clumped around seeds and red fibers inside the shell.
The fruit pulp is mechanically removed from the shell and seperated from the red fiber. It has a nutty, acidic taste. Baobab pulp is only about 8% water, naturally, and contains significantly more vitamin C than oranges. The dehydrated form of the pulp means that the fruit does not need to be processed, just mechanically separate it, and it si ready to use. It is targeted to use baobab fruit pulp for smothies and cereal bars, amongst other possible uses.
Many berries, including the blueberry and cranberry, are considered super-fruits. The red, purple, blue coloring in berries, cherries, currants and grapes are due to anthocyanins and other phytochemicals that are anti-oxidant in nature. Even the common Concord grape has high anti-oxidant capacity
Miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is the latest culinary craze. This fruit contains a chemical, miraculin, which effects the taste buds, and for around an hour after eaten, causes sour and bitter foods to taste sweet. Mircaulin has been studied for a number of flavor modification applications.
Though not necessarily nutritionally a super-food, this fruit does have interesting properties. One fad is to have tasting parties, where miracle fruit is consumed, then unusual and sour foods (such as lemons and limes) are consumed.
The fruit is available fresh and in a powdered pill form.
The pomegranate has become a very popular super-fruit in recent years due to its high anti-oxidant capacity, plus its rich, tart flavor. Pomegranate is available in many forms including whole fruit (autumn season), juice and juice mixtures, sorbet, and powder.