(Also known as: Barbados Cherry, West Indian Cherry)
The thin skinned, cherry sized fruit has a high vitamin C content and much of the vitamin C supplements labeled 'natural' are made from acerola. They have a sweet mildly acid cherry-like flavor and have 3 stones or seeds. Acerola can be eaten fresh, but are mainly used in preserves and pies.
By weight, acerola contain up to twenty times the vitamin C as oranges. Acerola seedlings were distributed for Victory Gardens during WW II because of their high vitamin C content.
Once picked, the fruit deteriorates rapidly and are usable for only 3 to 5 days.
Acerola (Malpighia glabra, M. punicifolia, M. emarginata) is a small dark red, cherry like fruit which grows in the Caribbean, northern South America, Central America and Mexico. Growing on small bushy shrubs or trees (10-20 feet), they are believed to have originated in the Yucatan. They are now also grown in southern Texas and California.