Could the World's Smallest Fruit Be the Next Big 'Superfood'?

Nutritional scientists suggest that the teensy fruit of some edible duckweeds may pack a major nutritional punch.
Could the World's Smallest Fruit Be the Next Big 'Superfood'?

Could the world’s smallest fruit be the next big “superfood”? The fruit of an edible species of duckweed (those rootless, stemless, leafless, teensy green plants you sometimes see floating on the surface of ponds) called Wolffia globosa or, alternately, Asian watermeal, is no bigger than the head of a pin, measuring about 0.7 to 1.5 millimeters, but nutritional scientists now suggest the teensy fruit may pack a major nutritional punch.

According to a study conducted by researchers in India and Germany and published in the journal Food Chemistry, Wolffia globosa, which grows quickly and is said to taste a bit like watercress, is packed with protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

Easier to grow than soy (no farmland needed), Wolffia globosa may make a fine addition to smoothies or baked goods (gluten-free, no less), the researchers suggest. The itty-bitty green fruits, which may also purify the water in which they grow and could additionally be used to produce bio-ethanol, have long been popular in some Asian countries, where they show up in soups and omelets or on their own as a ‘veggie’ (consider it a sort of spinach caviar).

So much potential for such a wee little thing, eh?

And just in case you’re looking for recipes, here’s a Thai Asian Watermeal dish that integrates lemongrass, red onions, dill and basil, among other ingredients.

As for where you can get the key ingredient, a company called Green Onyx is working on letting you harvest edible duckweed on your own countertop.


Photo courtesy of @teenkidsnews

Next Up

Is Poke the Next Big Thing?

The next big thing in fast-casual dining may come as fantastic news for raw-fish fans: restaurants devoted to poke, Hawaii’s answer to sashimi, ceviche and tuna tartare.

Are Supermarket Gyms the Next Big Thing?

Grocery stores are getting into the fitness game to attract customers, trend watchers note.

Is Dragon Fruit the Next "It" Food?

There’s a new super food in town. Is the oddly gorgeous dragon fruit set to be the next pomegranate?

The Next Hybrid Fruit is... The Peacharine

Can't decide between a peach and a nectarine? You no longer have to.

Around-the-World Fries

Basic fries are good, but these dressed-up, globally-inspired recipes are even better. Try them all to find your favorite flavor combo!

Are Hawaiian Dishes the Next Big Culinary Kahuna?

Traditional foods and ingredients beyond poke are increasingly popping up on mainland menus.

The World's Easiest Gingerbread House

Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to make the world's easiest gingerbread house.

The World’s Skimpiest Ham Sandwich?

A New Zealand diner claims to have been served a ham sandwich with only two wafer-thin strips of ham perched on the bread, and the Internet is outraged.

The Next Big Thing in the Produce Aisle: Tiny Vegetables.

Small vegetables only seem to betting bigger -- at least in supermarkets and restaurants.

Related Pages