Every year brings a wealth of new found ‘superfoods’ as food scientists explore emerging generations of grains, fruits and vegetables. Some of these are ancient foods that are now being rediscovered and their value to our health is now being brought to the world’s attention – in a big way! This fact in itself is what appealed to my inner culinary historian – understanding food sources and their role in history. I hope you enjoy this article and try and look for some of these items in your nearest health stores. Moreover, I’ll be creating recipes over the next few weeks using some of these ingredients to ensure you get the best for your health from Taste Safari!
Grains, Pulses & Seeds
2013 was the International Year of the Quinoa. Since then, a lot of quinoa recipes have emerged, highlighting the health benefits of this nutritional little seed. But as we launch ourselves into 2015, and change our food fashion as often as our socks, it seems that people are getting bored of quinoa. Rumour has it that quinoa’s baby cousin, ‘kaniwa’ will become the new must have South American superfood this year. Here’s why:
This gluten free goodness is high in fiber, iron, calcium, protein (it contains all 9 essential amino acids, and 7 grams of protein per half-cup serving; winner for vegetarians and vegans!) It is also jam packed with antioxidants, and actually contains more that quinoa per serving.
It’s nutty flavour makes it excellent to bulk up salads, casseroles and stir fries, while its sweetness is a great twist in soups. Those of you that have used quinoa will know you have to rinse it before you can do anything with it, but kaniwa doesn’t need any washing, making it a bit less of a faff to prepare.
It’s not breaking news that brown rice is better for you than white rice. This is because white rice has had most of the goodies removed in the milling process. Black rice is better for you for the same reasons, but it even trumps brown rice in the amounts of protein, iron, fibre and antioxidants it contains. Try the Taste Safari pearl barley and black rice medley recipe here!
More of the world is going gluten free, and these are going to be two of the big players in gluten free baking this year:
OK, I know what you’re thinking. Making a pizza dough with banana flour = banana margarita pizza… no thanks! Actually, banana flour is made from very unripe, green bananas – which means none of the natural sugars and flavours of the fruit have developed yet. As well as being gluten free, and low sugar, this flour is supercharged with resistant starch, which is really good for digestion and will keep you fuller for longer without bloating.
Low carb, high fibre. Great for use in those sweet treats usually off limits to those who are gluten free. Coconut flour contains lots of healthy fats, good for your immune system and your skin. It is actually able to be made at home, involving the drying and crushing of the coconut meat. And if you’re wondering what to do with the rest of the coconut, why not try the Taste Safari coconut ice cream recipe?
Apparently fermented foods will be big in 2015. They are essential for maintaining a healthy gut, due to all the good bacteria they contain (probiotics). They also contain important nutrients and detoxifiers. Some great fermented foods to try at home are:
Tempeh: made from naturally fermented soybeans, tempeh is very similar to tofu.
Miso: fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans. Miso soup is a very popular Japanese dish.
Sauerkraut: fermented cabbage and salt. A good source of vitamin C and is even said to have cancer-fighting properties.