Each year seems to bring signature flavors and “hot” new products and the trending vegetable. Let’s take a look at a couple of the food trends and fads we could see in 2017.
FLAVOR – Still looking for coconut and sea salt flavored chocolate bars, popcorn, or beverages? You are SO last year…while those flavors are still around, it looks like this year’s flavor will be GINGER.
No, not ginger ale, I’m talking about ginger in teas, beverages, yogurt, snack bars, granola and more. You may have been exposed to ginger in Asian dishes like stir-fry or in desserts like gingerbread; but the use of ginger as a flavor has exploded out into new and different categories. Ginger has long been valued for anti-nausea and motion sickness properties (http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger ), though it doesn’t always perform as well or better than over-the-counter or prescription remedies.
You can purchase ginger in a few forms. The knobby root is available in the produce section, use the tip of a spoon to peel away the brown skin and then slice into slivers to add to a stir fry dish or steep in hot water with lemon and add some honey to sweeten for a naturally caffeine-free brew. Powdered ginger can be found in the spice and herb section and this can be used for smoothies, baking or to add to rubs or seasonings for meat and seafood. Candied ginger is , well, candy and best enjoyed in moderation.
SNACKS – Meat and protein snacks are “in” thanks to diet fads/preferences like paleo. While meat jerky has long been a staple for hunters, a new generation of jerky includes poultry ( turkey jerky), tuna, salmon and trout jerky (look for Sunburst Trout’s trout jerky in Western NC Ingles stores). Flavoring for these protein snacks has branched out from traditional smoky flavors to hot and spicy like chipotle and sweet like cherry or blackberry. A word of caution on any sort of jerky is to keep an eye on the sodium content. Some form of sodium (salt) is often used as a marinade for these meats or seafood, so sodium content can be quite high.
VEGETABLE – In the past couple of years we’ve gone through the kale craze of kale salads and smoothies and onto a fascination with cauliflower and using it in place of rice or as a crust for pizza.
I predict this year’s vegetable will be Brussels sprouts . Have you ever noticed how Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages? This makes sense because they are in the same family, Brassicaceae. Nutritionally Brussels sprouts are a winner; 1/2 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has only 28 calories, 3 grams of fiber and they’re an excellent source of vitamin K, potassium and vitamin C. My favorite way to fix Brussels sprouts is to rinse, cut in 1/2 or quarters, toss with some olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning and roast in a hot oven until slightly crispy. I also really enjoy shaved Brussel sprouts salads and have made a version with celery and blue cheese that was really tasty.
Every year, and sometimes every week, new items appear on the shelves at Ingles. Keep an eye out for “new item” tags and for trends that you may be able to spot in flavors, packaging or preparation. You never know what you may end up liking!