2 bright red acerola cherry fruit hanging from a branch with green leaves

Acerola: a permaculture delight

Let’s delve into the wonderful world of Acerola. This tiny yet powerful fruit that has found a place in the heart of many permaculture gardens. From this hardy Acerola plant, you can harvest an abundance of gorgeous bright red fruits that add a burst of nutrition and sustainability to your backyard.

I have planted my Acerola on the main path to my house so I notice when it is fruiting and I can get ready to harvest. It’s good to keep them close because it only takes 2-3 weeks from flower to fruit.

I made a little youtube clip, you can watch it here.

Why Acerola?

Also known as the Barbados cherry or West Indian cherry, Acerola (Malpighia emarginata) is a fabulous small tree – great for urban backyards, nestled into your food forest and even suitable in pots. It’s a vibrantly red little fruit with an impressive nutritional profile, full of vitamin C, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. It’s abundant, hardy, tasty, versatile and healthy.

Growing Acerola

Acerola is easy to grow with very little pest issue (except you need to harvest before the birds!). It likes a sunny spot with well-drained soil. I always suggest you add a good amount of compost in the hole when you are planting, create a water retention basin around the plant, give it a good deep soak, then cover the soil around with thick mulch.

You can easily take cuttings to make new plants from your existing tree – a great way to save money and create fantastic gifts too. Just takea cutting from a healthy growing tip (about 25 cms long). Trim off the lower leaves and plant directly into compost prepared soil or a pot. Keep it moist until roots develop.  You can also just plant the seeds directly when you eat them (plant them before they dry out).

Acerola Delights: Recipes for Your Harvest

There are lots of ways to integrate these tasty fruits into your day. Here’s 3 …

Fresh from the tree

Acerola Smoothie

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup fresh Acerola berries (remove seeds)
    • 1 banana
    • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
    • 1 cup coconut water
    • A handful of mint leaves

Blend these ingredients until smooth for a refreshing, vitamin-packed treat!

Acerola Bliss Balls

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup dried dates
    • 1/2 cup almonds
    • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
    • 1/4 cup fresh Acerola juice

Combine in a food processor, roll into balls, and coat with extra coconut. These make for a delightful and nutritious snack.

When Acerola is fruiting there is an abundance. Make the most of it and experiment.

Happy gardening – and eating!

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