CAPSULE REPORT: First, pomegranate promised superfruit health benefits. Then, it was açaí from the Brazilian rainforest. Now, yumberry from China is clamoring for your attention. It has a flavor profile that’s a cousin to pomegranate with some distant kinship to açaí. The rich juice has a sweetness with a hint of the exotic. As the subtropics continue to yield antioxidant-rich fruit, say “yum” and try a sip of yumberry juice. Like pomegranate juice, it’s delicious in cocktails, too. There are three organic and four natural flavors.
The yumberry is a pretty red tree fruit that has been cultivated in Asia for about 2,000 years (and eaten wild as far back as 6,000 years). In China, it is called yangmei, in Japan, yamamomo. In English, the tree is variously called the yumberry, Chinese strawberry, Chinese bayberry, Japanese bayberry and red bayberry. There is also a variety called the wax myrtle, giving way to the name waxberry for the fruit. It may be unfortunate that marketers have chosen yumberry as the preferred name, because it sounds like a kid’s flavor and the yumberry is pretty serious stuff. (Though we will concede that yumberry sounds better than waxberry.) A high-antioxidant superfruit, it joins açaí and pomegranate as a better alternative to breakfast juice. It’s a good mixer for gin, tequila and vodka cocktails, too.
Frützzo, a company that focuses on high-antioxidant, 100% fruit juices (its first line was pomegranate juices, which we reviewed in our category analysis of pomegranate juice), was the first company in America to market blends of pomegranate and nutrient-dense ingredients such as blueberries, raspberry and açaí. (In terms of blended juices, it beat the category originator, Pom Wonderful, to the proverbial punch.)
The Yumberry Fruit: Fighting Free Radicals
The yumberry tree is most widely cultivated in the hills surrounding the Yangtze Delta, in China, where the fruit blooms for just three weeks a year. It is eaten fresh as well as made into juice, syrups and other products. In the U.S., juice is currently the only form available.
The area is conducive to organic production, so one can find a good amount of organic product alongside conventional product. Frützzo offers both.
The yumberry looks like a sister of lychee, but they aren’t related. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
From the outside, the yumberry looks like a lychee. But while the lychee’s thin exterior peels off to reveal a white fruit inside, the yumberry is a solid fruit with red-purple interior similar in color to pomegranate arils. The phytochemical hero in the fruit is the free-radical-scavenging antioxidant, oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC). It also has carotene, thiamin, riboflavin and the antioxidant vitamin C.
As with pomegranate, the flavor of the juice will vary quite a bit, as there are more than 100 varieties of yumberry tree. You won’t find the information on the bottle, just as apple juice bottles usually don’t tell you what variety of apple was squeezed. But for students of botany, there are white, pink, red and purple varieties. Usually, the purple variety of yumberry has the best quality and taste. The flavor, too, can be compared to pomegranates; although as you’ll note in our review of pomegranate juices, the flavors vary widely from brand to brand, based on the subspecies of pomegranate and where it was grown.
Yumberry Juice Flavors
There are three organic and four natural flavors of Frützzo yumberry juices. Frützzo’s free-radical-fighting super juices will help fight disease-causing free radicals—but you need to be strong to start with, because those caps are hard to twist off! All flavors are available in natural and organic except Yumberry with Cherry, which is currently made only in natural.
To create the best flavor profile, the blended juices are a combination of cherry, pineapple, apple and elderberry juices in addition to the yumberry.
Yumberry. Tart and candied, plain yumberry is a serious-tasting juice; kids probably wouldn’t like it, and we personally prefer a blend.
Make a yumberry cocktail. Photo by Saidi Granados.
Yumberry With Blueberry. This, along with Pomegranate, is our favorite flavor, and is the less sweet, more elegant of the two. While the strong yumberry flavor overwhelms any direct taste of blueberry, the blueberry adds welcome complexity to the blend.
Yumberry With Cherry. The cherry makes this berry, already sweet, rather candied and popsicle-like in flavor. This would likely be the kids’ favorite.
Yumberry With Pomegranate. A more sophisticated flavor, this is a very popular choice, according to the folks at Yumberry. We liked the flavor of the organic blend even better than the natural.
We enjoyed our yumberry juice:
As a spritzer with lunch (add club soda or sparkling water and an optional twist of lime, which provides more antioxidants)
Mixed with iced tea (no added sugar needed)
In cocktails, substituting yumberry for cranberry and other juices
An eight-ounce portion provides as few as 73 calories (some flavors have a few calories more).
The juices are packaged in fully recyclable glass bottles. However, avid recyclers that we are, we’ve been refilling the cute bottles with our home-brewed iced tea.
FRUTZZO YUMBERRY JUICES
NATURAL: Yumberry, Yumberry With Blueberry, Yumberry With Cherry, Yumberry With Pomegranate
ORGANIC: Yumberry, Yumberry With Blueberry, Yumberry With Pomegranate
Frützzo is available at grocery stores, natural supermarkets, specialty stores and big box stores nationwide. Costco carries a 64-ounce size for $5.39.
Photo by Claire Freierman.
*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.
Recent Articles From Our NutriNibbles™ News Feed:
Subscribing notifies you whenever
to the NutriNibbles™ section.