Why Is Acai Usually Sold Frozen?

If you’ve ever purchased acai products like acai bowls, smoothies or supplements, you’ve likely noticed that acai is almost always sold frozen or freeze-dried. There’s a good reason for this – the fresh acai berries have an extremely short shelf life.

Perishable Nature

Acai berries grow on palm trees in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Once harvested, the fresh berries begin to spoil very quickly, within just 24 hours.

This is due to their:

  1. High water content
  2. Lack of preservatives
  3. Delicate structure

The berries are also highly perishable because they contain healthy fats like omega-3s and omega-6s that can easily oxidize and turn rancid.

Challenges of Transporting

Trying to transport fresh acai berries over long distances from the remote Amazon region to other parts of the world is incredibly difficult. The berries would spoil before ever reaching their destination.

To preserve their nutrients and prevent spoilage, the freshly harvested acai berries are:

  • washed and lightly processed
  • frozen into puree or pulp
  • shipped in refrigerated containers

When the berries are picked and at their freshest, this freezing process locks in the good things about them, like antioxidants and healthy fats.

Freeze-Drying for Longer Shelf Life

Some acai products are freeze-dried into powders or capsules, as well as frozen purees and pulps. Freeze-drying removes the moisture from frozen acai through a vacuum process.

Acai powders that have been freeze-dried last even longer than frozen purees. If they are properly packed, they can last for over a year. Compared to other drying methods, freeze-drying helps keep more of the nutrients in the berries.

Final Thoughts

The rich purple pigments, antioxidants, and healthy fats in acai are kept in their natural state by freezing or freeze-drying it right after it is picked.

Fresh acai berries would lose most of their nutritional value by the time they could be transported and consumed. Freezing locks in acai’s full superfood strength so it can be enjoyed around the world.

Although it might be hard to find fresh acai outside of the Amazon, frozen and freeze-dried acai products let everyone enjoy the flavor and health benefits of this powerful little berry.

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