Açai palm is a type of palm tree that is scientifically called Euterpe oleracea. The açai palm is
is native to Brazil, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname and it is especially present and cultivated in Amazonia, in Brazil.
The açai fruit is blackish-purple in color and small and round in shape, somewhat resembling blueberries.
From the end of the 20th century onwards, açai berries were marketed as a superfruit with having purportedly high levels of antioxidants and vitamins, but there has been no credible evidence to back these claims. This led to a high consumption of the fruit, usually in frozen bowls and in nutritional supplements as part of a health fad in western countries.
The name açai comes from the word ïwaca'i
, which means "fruit that cries" in Tupi Guarani, an indigenous South American language. It is called "fruit that cries" because it is a pulp that releases its juice. The word was then adapted into portuguese and became açai as we know it.
The correct pronunciation of the word açaì in Portuguese is ah-sa-ee
. It is pronounced this way because the "ç" produces an "s" sound and there is an accent on the final "i", thereby imposing the pronunciation of an "ee" with added stress.