Ginseng fruit is a type of plant that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It’s known as one of the “Three Jewels” because it was once considered to have medicinal properties, especially when combined with ginseng root. Ginseng fruit has been shown to improve energy levels, mental clarity, and boost immune function. In this article you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about ginseng fruit: where does it come from? What does it taste like? Does it have caffeine in it? And more!
What is Ginseng Fruit?
While you might be used to thinking of ginseng solely as a root, this is only one part of a much larger plant. The term ginseng fruit usually refers to the piquant berries that grow on the fronds of these plants, though other parts of the plant including the leaves are also normally edible.
How to Eat Ginseng Fruit
You could theoretically eat ginseng fruit just as it is, though you should make sure to wash it first because pesticides are common in some agricultural regions. Ginseng fruit could also be dried out or used as an ingredient in certain types of rice stir fry.
What Does Ginseng Fruit Taste Like?
Since it’s quite bitter, many people compare the piquant taste of ginseng berries to cranberries, though the taste is not quite the same. Chances are that if you like other fruits that are pleasantly sour, you’re going to like ginseng fruit as well.
Can You Eat Ginseng Berry?
Though they taste quite different from the far more popular root, there isn’t usually any reason that you can’t eat ginseng berries. This fruit is considered quite tasty by many, and it’s usually loaded with many of the same nutrients that other parts of the plant are.
In fact, a 2016 study from the Journal of Ginseng Research suggested that syringaresinol molecules found in ginseng berries can reduce the risk of some age-related problems.
How Long Does it Take to Feel the Effects of Ginseng?
Those taking ginseng for its energy or intimacy-related effects may not have to wait long to feel them, but they shouldn’t be using it in particularly high doses just to feel them. A growing amount of research suggests low dose daily usage might be a safer option as well as a good choice for those who want to improve themselves over time.
Does Ginseng Have Caffeine?
Ginseng normally doesn’t have caffeine in it by itself. However, ginseng coffee exists, which contains at least some portion of coffee and therefore caffeine as well, though this is in there independent from the ginseng.
What Does Ginseng Fruit Smell Like?
Though they have a slight fruity smell that gives them the odor of other berries, ginseng fruits also have the distinctive scent that the rest of the ginseng plant gives off. While that makes them unmistakable as being related to ginseng, many people report being unable to detect much of a strong smell at all.
Will Deer Eat Ginseng Fruit?
At times, deer in the wild will eat ginseng fruits as will other animals, but they don’t normally do so because it can be hard to find wild supplies of ginseng. It’s a solitary plant that tends to live in shaded areas, which isn’t something that’s easy for most deer to find.
Certain varieties of deer may be allergic to the berries, which is also a reason that they might avoid them even if they see them.
Is Ginseng Fruit Bad for Your Liver?
It seems that there’s a lot of debate on this topic, and technically there’s a maximum safe limit regarding ginseng fruit and liver health. That being said, it’s unlikely that most people would ever reach this limit with normal culinary usage.
Problems start to arise when people begin abusing ginseng like any other supplement and take too much of it.
Ginseng Fruit Nutrition Facts
Unlike many other fruits, ginseng berries appear to be at least somewhat rich in amino acids and there’s some evidence of a fair amount of protein in it. You’ll also find a substance known as ginsenoside, which is found throughout ginseng plants.
Scientists believe that it’s this compound which gives ginseng many of the properties that practitioners of traditional medicine have long discussed.
Can I Eat Ginseng Fruit Raw?
As long as you make sure that the berries themselves are clean, you can usually eat them raw. You want them free of pesticides as well as bacteria and mold before you do, however.
Some places where wild American ginseng commonly grows aren’t exactly all that clean, for instance in abandoned orchards, so you want to be careful about just picking berries.
Can I Eat Ginseng Fruit Seeds?
Though you can theoretically eat ginseng fruit seeds, they’re going to get quite chewy after being separated from their berries for any significant amount of time. Recipes do exist for prepared ginseng fruit seeds, which are much easier to eat.
What Is Ginseng Fruit Rice?
Ginseng fruit rice is a cooked rice dish that also incorporates either dried or fresh ginseng berries, which are used to add a dash of extra flavor to it. Different areas have wildly different methods for making it, though it always includes these two ingredients.
Many people prefer to also have at least a little ginseng leaf or root in their fruit rice as well as the berries.
Ginseng Fruit Rice Recipes
The easiest way to make ginseng fruit rice is to stir fry about one part ginseng fruit to two parts long grain rice, which has become a staple among certain individuals in the western health food community. A more traditional preparation, served on the grand Tibetan new year, calls for two parts brown rice to one part ginseng fruit along with butter.
Korean soups, known as guk or tang, are served with a side of bap or rice. Soegogi-mu-guk, which is a broth of beef and radishes, may be served alongside of a compote made from ginseng fruit and steamed rice.
You may want to season this to some degree with doenjang, which is a savory paste that’s made from soy beans. It can also be used as a relish with these kinds of dishes.
Where Do They Eat Ginseng Fruit
Due in no small part to the push for more natural foods, ginseng fruit is more commonly eaten in western countries including the United States. However, traditional receipes are usually found mostly in Chinese and Korean cooking.
Nevertheless, the roots and sometimes leaves are normally used more commonly than the fruit. Korean chefs in particular have, at times, found guk receipes that work well to make soups with a consistency similar to that of ginseng fruit rice.
They’ll also sometimes serve ginseng fruit rice as a banchan side dish. Perhaps the most famous type of this dish is served in Tibet and comes in the form of zhuomazhesi, which includes yak butter.