Prime Edition

Jia Singh  21st Jun 2014

onnoisseurs, food consultants and chefs all over the world predict the biggest food trends on a local and global scale before the beginning of every year. Last year saw a rise in popularity of cold pressed juices and superfoods like chia, kale and quinoa. This year we've gotten acquainted with a whole lot more. 2014 has been all about local produce, free-range foods, teas, fermented foods and the paleo diet. Jia Singh gives you the lowdown on what's still red hot, besides the weather.

Egg Yolks

It turns out that yolks aren't really bad for you, after all! Research shows that the previous research was all hogwash, and actually a moderate consumption of egg yolks could fulfill your daily quota of vitamin A, B12 and D, Omega 3 fatty acids and other trace minerals. This means you no longer have to toss the yolks every time you make meringues, omelettes and (mmm) pavlova — our sympathies if you've spent all this time becoming a champion at separating egg-whites; the yolk's on you.

Freeze-dried fruits & vegetables

Move over, sweetened trail mixes; something much bigger and (thankfully) tastier has taken over. Fresh fruit — most popularly pineapples, apples, strawberries and bananas — are now a highly recommended in a freeze-dried version. It involved flash-freezing fresh produce, and then placing it in a vacuum chamber. About 98% of the food's moisture is drawn off by evaporating the ice, at temperatures as low as -45.5˚C. The produce is then sealed in moisture and oxygen proof packaging to ensure freshness until opened. As a result,the food retains its original flavours, aroma, texture, appearance and nutritional content. This also means that you get to enjoy your fruits and vegetables for way longer than you imagined possible. We're hooked on Trader Joes' dried strawberry pieces, if you have a way of scoring yourself some.

Hemp & hemp Seeds

The hemp plant has finally found a place in the superfoods category for its omega 3 fatty acids, trace minerals and fiber. High in protein and healthy fats, and low in cholesterol, hemp has a brilliant nutritional profile. No other single plant source has essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, or the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio as needed to meet human nutritional needs. Hemp is also a great source of zinc and magnesium. Try using hemp oil in salad dressings, sprinkle hemp seeds on your cereal, or even experiment with dairy-free hemp milk.

Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen has also attained superfood status because of this innumerable health benefits and nutritional density. Research suggests that bee pollen contains antibiotic substances that are effective against bacterial infections. Also a rich source of folic acid, bee pollen provides a host of antioxidants and B and C vitamins that support energy production. You can sprinkle a tad onto your smoothie, salad or cereal to attain the health benefits.

Gluten-free pasta

It's the hottest food and diet trend right now, and it isn't going away anytime soon. As a result, gluten-free pasta is on the rise, making conscious eaters, celiacs and those who do right by their bodies grateful to be able to enjoy a wheat-free, low-carb rendition of the comfort food.

Fermentation & pickling

The ancient craft of fermentation is back with a bang, and this time it's more popular than ever. Fermentation harnesses the power of microbes to transform the flavour and texture of food — like milk into creamy yoghurt, cabbage into sauerkraut, and tea into bubbly kombucha. This is great news for wine drinkers, kombucha guzzlers, and kimchi and sauerkraut aficionados.

Sous Vide and other slow-cooking methods

The boom in sous vide cookery and smoking ingredients, and a revived interest in cheaper but tougher secondary cuts has seen a dramatic increase on menus that list cooking times in hours, even days, rather than minutes. Restaurants like Uzuri, Le Bistro Du Parc , Olive and Tres in New Delhi all rely on sous vide for a lot of their meats. especially beef and pork.

Paleo diet trends

Like the gluten-free diet trend, the Paleo (or Caveman) Diet, is only growing in popularity, and looks like it too is going to be here a while. Restaurants the world over are accomodating paleo eaters and conscious foodies by creating wholesome, healthy meals that are free from dairy, soy, grain and refined sugars. Since the diet propogates regular consumption of fish, lean meat, nuts, seeds and fruits, most cafés are adapting their menus to include dishes with coconut and almond flour, honey in their desserts, and raw chocolate instead of the industrial cooking chocolate slabs.

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