04 May, 2021 00:15 am

The untapped power of Patagonian berries

The untapped power of Patagonian berries
The local indigenous people have long known that their native berries carry special properties. But now the rest of the world is finally starting to catch on.

"I was born here, my mom was born here and her mom was born here," Manquepillan said.View image of The strawberry traces its origins here, where it comes in both red and white varietals (Credit: Credit: Cristina Theoduloz) Calfucura is hardly alone in his newfound appreciation for this endemic berry.View image of Mapuche chef José Luis Calfucura serves up fried fish with native potatoes and maqui-infused mayonnaise at Amaia (Credit: Credit: Mark Johanson) Murta and maqui are the star ingredients of Maqueo Sabores Étnicos, a wild fruits business based at Lago Maihue, a fjord-like lake encased in the temperate rainforests of the Andean foothills near Futrono, Chile.View image of The murta berry is in the same botanical family as the guava (Credit: Maqueo y Koska) "Our ancestors also used these berries as a natural dye for textiles and in medicines," she said.

View image of Arrayán berries do not have much taste until they are cooked, at which time they become extremely herbal (Credit: Credit: Maqueo y Koska) "If you eat those berries, you will reduce the amount of sugar that will be taken by your organs," he said.These days, you're more likely to find murta outside of South America in New Zealand, where it is marketed as a "New Zealand cranberry", or Australia, where it goes by the name "Tazziberry".

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