How Açaí Helped Save Amazonian Forests

Jan 02, 2017

This is Part III of New Worlder’s first series: Food & The Amazon Rainforest, which explores the relationships and possibilities of food and one of the most diverse and vulnerable ecosystems on Earth.

I’ve had açaí infused into carbonated drinks in the United States and the pasteurized, frozen açaí pulp sweetened with condensed milk and tapioca at cafés in other parts of Brazil, but how it’s serve in the stalls at Belém do Pará’s Ver-O-Peso market is different. For one, it’s warm. Cylindrical machines, batedores de açaí, remove the thin outer layer of the super-fruit from the pit and turn it into a pulp, which the woman who runs the stall waters down in a large metal pot and scoops out into a hollow gourd to serve. It resembles a soupy bowl of kidney beans more than tropical fruit. It’s like tasting coffee from fresh ground beans for the first time. There’s nothing overtly sweet about it. The flavor is earthier than the versions I’ve had before. There’s a slight funk to it.

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