Eating the ‘in’ foods at home might just be a little easier for gardeners in 2018 because a lot of it is plant-based. Fruits and veggies are highly favored, but with a few unique twists.
No Food to Waste
This year’s food trends are somewhat inspired by making use of plant parts, sometimes the most nutrient-dense, that are usually discarded in the trash or compost pile. Except for the truly non-edible parts that are overly woody or poisonous, you’ll see some creative use of the commonly tossed, such as watermelon rind pickles and broccoli stalk slaw. Digging into storing and preserving techniques of the past, when anything edible had more value, will likely be a window to more ideas.
Spirits from Nature
Alcohol-free spirits and mocktails are on the list of food trends for 2018.
Not all spirits are alcoholic! The “virgin” distilling methods use pure water or vinegar, to make plant and flower elixirs and tinctures… like spirits. Unlike their boozy cousins, they reportedly come with body and mind healing benefits.
Everything you grow in the veggie patch or flower garden might prove useful ingredients. Sometimes it’s the roots, others the leaves and stems, and never overlook the blooms. Don’t stop there, look to the trees, weeds, and native landscape… after you’ve read up on what each plant has to offer. Seedlip Spirits, inspired by the methods discussed in Dr. John French’s The Art of Distillation (written in 1651), and featured on BBC Good Food puts the information in the ancient alchemy book to good use. Made in Britain, you can order Seedlip for cocktails directly on their site and ships to the US, Canada, and the UK. Or start brewing your own. Instead of frozen water, keep your libations chilled with frozen fruits and vegetables. Berries, peas or sliced fruit will never dilute the mocktail you’re drinking as they thaw. Plus, they give you a small booster of all manner of good things.
On top of using blooms in beneficial spirits, edible flowers will be big this year. Not just pansies and nasturtiums. There are over forty edible flowers. Some you probably already have, or will have, depending on the season, in your the vegetable garden or herb patch, such as squash and sage, or amongst your ornamentals, like roses and geraniums. Although beautiful, these blooms are no longer simple garnishes or accents, but full-fledged ingredients. Whole Foods offers things like raspberry geranium frozen fruit pops, elderflower-infused lemonade, and chocolate-covered violet marshmallows.
The Seasoning Battle
Too much salt is bad, and herbs are good. Using more of the second greatly reduces the need of the first. And you’ll want to add herbs to the garden you might never have heard of before too. Awareness of newly discovered flavors is spreading. Farm.One in New York City offers Manhattan chefs a wide array of herbs like epazote and shiso, as well as the more standard oregano and basil. Create your signature flavoring and experiment with seeds you can use fresh or dried, like black cilantro and the lesser-known, but more heat tolerant alternative, papalo. Along with lovage, chervil, and lemon balm, you’ll find unique herbs used in cooked dishes, flavor garnishes, and leafy green salads too.
While you cannot grow Chagas, you can grow reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps mushrooms. In fact, you’ll get more benefits from them in homemade mushroom broth than any of the ‘exciting’ new packaged powders and potions. Like anything else you eat or drink, the time between harvest and consumption, and commercial processing, discounts the original perks.
Food trends reporters point to exotic-sounding nut oils, South American maqui berries, and tiger nuts. Wait a minute. There’s nothing exotic about tiger nuts. They’re the root tubers of a sedge grass that grows wild in many parts of the world. But foraging for tasty tiger nuts means competing with all the animals that love it. You’ll have more control and easier access growing your own.
Bringing the Heat
While hot sauce has been super popular for years, the health benefits of chilies are catapulting them to superstars. But the latest hot sauce concoctions (mild to extra fiery) venture into new flavors, like ginger and more fruits. Don’t know how to make hot sauce? This easy recipe will get you started at crafting your own signature blend(s).
Of course, there’s a lot more to this year’s predicted eating trends. Check out the rest, like regional Mexican and Chinese dishes, in the links below.
These are just the interesting new things you can grow at home, and be completely “trendy.”
- Edible Flower List (most of them)
- Reader’s Digest
Images courtesy of fannetastic food, Blossoming Gifts, and Woodland Jewel (respectively).