The latest addition is the yang mei berry. This fruit has no American counterpart and is roughly translated at ” Chinese bayberry,” which doesn’t make much sense, but has been called “yumberry” in English because of the similarity of the Chinese name and the the fact that it is very yummy.
The fruit is round and dark red in color. It has what looks like a spiny outside, but you don’t peel this fruit, in fact you can’t because the outer part is the fruit. The size is like a big cherry and there is a pit in the middle you have to watch out for.
The flavor is a delicious mix of a plum, strawberry and pomegranite. If you get a fresh, perfectly ripe berry the taste just explodes in your mouth. Really juicy and tangy, but not too sour.
Unfortunately they have a very short shelf life just like raspberries. You have to be careful to not bruise them and you have to eat them within a few days. My trick is to go at night see who has sold out of the berries and wait until the next morning when they are restocked to buy the fresh ones.
In addition to a short shelf life they have a very short growing period, just 2-3 weeks. Many place in southern China celebrate this time with a yang mei festival to celebrate this quick lived but delicious fruit.
Yang mei berries can be really expensive in other parts of China, but here they are a local fruit and cheap. Right now the price is about $1 forÂ a jin (equal to half a kg). And when I say local, I mean local. The farmers often sit outside of our campus selling the fresh picked fruit. SupposedlyÂ we even have some growing on campus.
This berry is super healthy as well. Loaded with vitamin C and high inÂ antioxidantsÂ it’s not too surprising to hear that many US companies are trying to market “yumberry” juice for the masses. It’s not a bad idea, even in China they make juice (or more often liquor) to keep the fruit longer, and I could see the appeal. I’m not sure if any company has made a big dent in the market, but if you see yang mei juice at the store I would recommend it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go and buy another jin because supply is getting less and I want another taste before theyÂ disappearÂ for the year!