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Food | Wellbeing

How to Use Goji Berries + a Roundup of 17 Tasty Goji Recipes

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You’ve likely heard of these tiny red-orange berries and are wondering how to use goji berries and what all the fuss is about. Goji berries (sometimes referred to as wolfberries), have become a hot item in the health food world in the past several years for its nutrient-rich properties and health benefits.

Goji berries (common varieties being Lycium chinense or Lycium barbarum) are members of the nightshade family. Many Asian cultures have used goji berries for thousands of years as an ingredient in dishes, and to promote overall health.

You can buy fresh or dried goji berries in various Asian supermarkets, and health food stores. A quick online search brings out a number of goji supplements and powders too (make sure you buy these from a reputable supplier). 

Or, perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a goji berry plant of your own providing you with a source of fresh goji berries. With the right propagation methods, growing a goji plant isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

If you have a bunch of goji berries and are wondering what the heck to do with them, don’t fret. Goji berries are versatile and useful in a variety of sweet and savory cooked, baked, or fresh dishes. Sprinkle them as a garnish on cereal, use them like cranberries in baking, add them to smoothies, or incorporate them into a tasty soup.

Here’s how to use goji berries in your everyday diet.

Goji berry benefits

Rich in fiber and protein, goji berries also contain many vitamins, antioxidants, and all eight essential amino acids. The fiber and protein help keep your body feeling satiated. 

Goji berries are jam-packed with Vitamin A. A 100 gram serving of dried goji berries contains 26,822 IU. The upper limit of vitamin A per day is 10,000 IU; any more than this and you risk the chance of vitamin toxicity. This is why you need only a small handful of goji berries, or it could be too much of a good thing.

Goji berries contain:

  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium 
  • Iron
  • Fiber
  • Protein

Goji berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine for anti-aging, boosting immunity, and preventing cancer.

Before you start binging on these berries, be aware of some precautions and warnings. Please speak to your doctor to see if goji berries are safe for you.

Do not consume goji berries if you are:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding. Goji berries may cause uterine contractions.
  • Allergic to foods like tomatoes, peaches, nuts, and tobacco. Goji berries, being a member of the nightshade family, may cause possible allergic reactions in some people.

Use caution if you have:

  • Diabetes. Goji berries may cause blood sugar levels to drop.
  • Low blood pressure. Goji berries may cause blood pressure levels to drop.

What do goji berries taste like?

Slightly tart, slightly sweet, goji berries have a unique flavor profile sort of like a sour cherry. They go surprisingly well with sweet or savory dishes. You can eat them fresh, cooked, or dried. When dried, they resemble red raisins and you can use them as such.

HowToUseGojiBerries
Credit: Fascinadora / Yay Images, charcoal two colors chia pudding with goji

Ways to eat goji: 

  • Raw: Plucked fresh from the shrub. Grab a few as a healthy midday snack.
  • Garnish: Top your morning cereal or oatmeal with goji.
  • Blend: Add a few goji berries to your morning smoothie.
  • Cooked: The sweet-tart flavor of goji pairs well with savory meat dishes. You can also add them in soups and stews.
  • Baked: Dried goji berries are often used in baking. Try them in muffins, scones, and bread. Simply soak them in hot water for a few minutes to rehydrate them.

How to use fresh goji berries

Keep fresh, unwashed goji berries in the fridge just as you would other berries. Before eating, give them a thorough wash with cold water. Since goji berries are rather small, use a colander with small holes, or even a sieve to wash them.

Keep a small batch in the fridge to grab as a healthy snack, or to top up your morning cereal.

Here’s a roundup of recipes using fresh goji berries.

Recipe 1:

Superfood Berry Chia Breakfast

Start the day right with this chia seed pudding topped with goji berries, goldenberries, and cashews (via Food 52).

Recipe 2:

Raw Goji Berry Coconut Pudding

The tartness of fresh goji berries livens up this healthy coconut pudding (via ProjectWellnessNow).

Recipe 3:

Pork, Prawn & Goji Berry Steamed Dumplings

It’s hard to resist homemade dumplings! This recipe calls for fresh gojis that will later be steamed (via Family Focus Blog).

How to use dried goji berries

Goji berries are commonly sold in a dried state. They have a texture similar to a raisin, with a slightly tart taste similar to a cranberry with less sweetness.

The best way to store dried goji berries is in a sealed container in a cool, dark place such as your pantry. When properly stored, dried goji berries have a long shelf life, up to one year.

There are several ways to dry goji berries. The easiest one involves laying a single layer of goji berries on a flat tray to sun-dry for several days. I remember my grandma doing this when I was a little girl. You can also oven-dry them, or use a dehydrator if you have one.

Most baking recipes use dried goji berries. The tartness of goji pairs well with chocolate which is why you’ll find so many recipes with this two-ingredient combo.

Try making your own trail mix, granola, or top up your morning cereal with dried goji. Have fun with dried goji berries and get creative! 

Recipe 4: 

Goji Berry Balls

These no-bake bite-sized vanilla  goji balls are perfect for snacks on-the-go. Raw and vegan-friendly (via Running On Real Food).

Recipe 5:

Blueberry Goji Scones With Lemon Glaze

These yummy scones are perfect for brunches and for sharing (via SELF).

Recipe 6:

Chinese Chicken Salad & Goji Berry Dressing

Poached chicken with crisp veggies finished with a drizzle of pickled goji berry dressing (via Healthy World Cuisine).

Recipe 7:

Chocolate & Goji Berry Bars

Cacao and goji pair perfectly with these energy bars (via Fearne Cotton).

Recipe 8:

Raw Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes with Goji Berries

The ultimate guilt-free dessert for chocolate-lovers (via This Rawsome Vegan Life).

Recipe 9:

No-Bake Protein Goji Berry Granola Bars

A homemade granola bar where you can actually pronounce all the ingredients. Features oats, sunflower seeds, nut butter, and of course goji berries (via Citron Limette).

How to cook with goji berries

If you need to rehydrate dried goji berries, just soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes and drain. The goji berries are plump and soft. You can also cook with fresh goji berries—just give them a rinse in cold water first.

Goji berries pair nicely with pork, as well as savory soups, stews, and veggie dishes.

Here are a few ways to cook with goji berries:

Recipe 10:

Chinese Spinach Soup with Wolfberries and Garlic

This is the kind of soup that reminds me of my grandma’s cooking. Chinese spinach soup with a handful of goji berries and dried anchovies (via Messy Witchen).

Recipe 11: 

Immune-Boosting Soup

Fight off cold and flu season with this tasty immune-boosting soup featuring onions, yams, mushrooms, and goji berries (via Mother Earth News).

Recipe 12:

Pork Rib Soup with Daikon

A traditional Asian comfort soup topped with goji berries (via Spice the Plate).

Recipe 13:

Spicy Goji Berry Soup

Tomatoes, onions, chili, and goji berries combine to make one delicious, fiery soup (via Wallflower Kitchen).

How to use goji berries for drinks

While you can buy goji drinks and juice at health food stores, these splurges quickly add up. It’s better bang for your buck to make your own goji drinks at home. You just need a handful of fresh, dried, or frozen goji berries to add to your drink of choice.

Try brewing a hot cup of goji tea as a comforting evening ritual. Or blend goji berries to make a smoothie or juice. 

Here are a few drink recipes featuring goji berries:

Recipe 14:

Ginseng & Goji Berry Tea

Combine the powers of ginseng and goji berries for a super immune booster (via Candids by Jo).

Recipe 15:

Green Goji Berry Smoothie

Kale, goji berries, and coconut water are the stars of this healthy smoothie (via Seasonal Cravings). 

Recipe 16:

Apple Goji Berry Spiced Cider

Goji berries add a nice twist to classic apple cider. This recipe is a large batch perfect for entertaining (via Swirls and Spice).

Recipe 17:

Mixed Fruit Smoothie with Goji Berries

An easy and tasty smoothie with only four ingredients (via All Recipes).

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  1. Carey, Elea and Gotter, Ana (27 Sept 2019). “8 Healthy Facts About the Goji Berry.” Healthline. Accessed June 2020.
  2. USDA, Food Data Central, Goji berries, dried. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173032/nutrients Accessed June 2020.
  3. Medline Plus, Herbs and Supplements, Goji, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1025.html. Accessed June 2020.
  4. Kubala, Jillian (4 October 2018). “Vitamin A: Benefits, Deficiency, Toxicity and More.” Healthline. Accessed June 2020.


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