Whether you’re snacking on a cookie made with cricket flour or becoming best friends with deactivated yeast, summer food trends in 2017 are all about getting out of your comfort zone and rethinking your preferences. Try new trends at your own pace, but remember that variety is the spice of life and besides, you might end up with a new favourite!
Ok, so this may have a bit of an ick-facor for some. Although it might be hard to wrap your head around the idea of eating insects, they are actually a staple food in many parts of the world. Edible insect treats have been slowly filtering into the North American market for a few years now in the form of novelty snack foods and candy. It’s been only recently that insects have begun showing up on up-and-coming restaurant menus, popular food blogs, and in trend setting cookbooks. Select grocery and specialty stores have begun introducing insect products in the form of cricket flour and roasted insects that can be added to cooked and baked goods. Still feel squeamish? Remember that insects contain almost twice the amount of protein by weight than most types of meat and are an excellent source of dietary fibre. Will you take the bait?
Sorry, we’re not talking beer and wine here! However, the soaring popularity of kombucha and kimchi this past year has skyrocketed all things fermented onto centre stage in the food world. It’s hard to believe the simple chemical action of sugar turning into a gas, acid, or alcohol could produce so many types of food and drink but the sheer variety available is solid proof. Everything from pickles, to kimchi, to kombucha is getting an artisanal makeover this year, with new riffs on old classics appearing at farmer’s markets and on grocery store shelves. Not a fan of the fermented taste? Yogurt, cheese, and even soy sauce are all foods that have undergone the fermentation process. Kefir is a thick yet still drinkable dairy product that has a tart yet fresh flavour and can be added to smoothies or drank on its own. Fermented foods are packed with probiotics for gut health so make sure this trend is on your list of ideas to try!
The secret is out about sea vegetables. Gone are the days when the only people eating sea vegetables in Canada were those on a macrobiotic diet. Sea vegetables have many advantages going for them in terms of their impressive nutritional profile as well as that harvesting sea vegetables is extremely low impact on the environment. Commonly available sea vegetables include kelp, wakame, and brown algae and depending on the type can be used in salads, poke, soups, and homemade sushi rolls.
Eating vegan has come to a point where it’s now mainstream and marketable to a large audience. While anyone who cooks vegan or vegetarian will be totally familiar with nutritional yeast, this vitamin B12-packed vegan staple will be a pleasant surprise for those not in the know. Nutritional yeast has a pleasantly cheesy flavour, which is hard to believe coming from a vegan source but somehow completely true. Mind…blown. Made of deactivate yeast that looks like golden brown flakes, nutritional yeast can be used in place of parmesan cheese or even breadcrumbs. Tofu that’s been coated in nutritional yeast and shallow fried is the easiest way to convince anyone of this trend’s merit as a tasty ingredient.
Intimidated by the thought of hosting your own summer dinner party? Meze-style meals were made for easy entertaining and there’s no pressure to put all your hopes that things are going well into a single entrée. Meze-style meals are served in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries and are composed of dips, warm pita, salads, and other small plate meals that your guests can help themselves to. If you don’t like to cook you’re in luck, dips like hummus, tzatziki, and baba ganoush are easily found in the deli section of any grocery store. Buy some fresh herbs and scallions to garnish the dips and stir in a spoonful of thick Greek yogurt and smoked paprika or za’atar (at which point, you can rightfully say you made the dips). Store bought or homemade Greek salad and tabbouleh will round out the meal when served with the option of warmed fresh pita bread.