Deciphering which foods we were most interested in during 2017 was tricky, given the fruit-based lyrics of Drake appearing in different formations! But I think I have managed to come up with the top food-based items that we Googled in 2017
Items that may hit our supermarkets this year (or have already responded), and in no particular order:
There are different species and hundreds of varieties of breadfruit – but they’re all high in dietary fibre and minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc.
They also punch well in B vitamins and vitamin C (as many fruits do) class. But unusually for a fruit, breadfruit contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, and this could be one of the reasons it’s sparked our interest.
However, breadfruit is high in calorie, although most of that is the form of complex carbohydrates, which means that it takes longer for our digestive system to breakdown than simple sugars. It’s unlikely, therefore, to cause a sharp rise in blood glucose and insulin so long as it’s eaten in its whole form (not juiced).
Because breadfruit is very starchy, it can be used as a substitute for any of the starchy foods in our diet such as potato, rice or pasta. It’s highly versatile and can be steamed, baked, fried or boiled and apparently has a taste not dissimilar to artichoke hearts.
When very ripe, breadfruit is sweet and can be eaten like any sweet fruit. The seeds are also edible, and as this plant is so easy to grow, breadfruit could be one that supermarkets will be looking to stock if they cotton on to people’s curiosity about it.
Jackfruit looks very similar to breadfruit from the outside, but the moment you cut into it – you know it’s a jackfruit! From the same family as breadfruit, jackfruit has little pods inside when you open it up, and is often eaten both ripe and unripe – depending upon your intention with it. Jackfruits can also grow to enormous sizes, making them the largest of all tree fruits.
Jackfruit is highly versatile, and is used throughout Asia for desserts and savoury dishes. My personal favourite is jackfruit curry, Indonesian style (gulai nangka), which is made with unripen jackfruit.
In the UK, jackfruit is most likely to be found in tins. To guarantee a purchase, as I write this, you’re more likely to find it in an Asian or Chinese supermarket than Sainsbury or Tesco – but my bet is that it’ll soon appear on the shelves – probably before we ever see breadfruit in our supermarkets!
Jackfruit is a good source of vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9, vitamin C, the minerals potassium and magnesium but like breadfruit, is on the higher calorie spectrum of fruits due to its sugar content.
#3 Cumquat (Kumquat)
Kumquats are often mistakenly thought of as belonging to the citrus family as they resemble a small orange, but actually belong to the Fortunella family. Unlike citrus fruit, you can eat the whole thing without peeling. The skin is sweet and the flesh sour.
They are usually eaten just like grapes or added to fruit salads, but can be preserved in syrup or pickled in salt water. I believe they make a good marmalade too!
For nutrition, the kumquat is relatively low in calories, and is a reasonable source of dietary fibre; they are also a rich source of vitamin C and contain moderate amounts of vitamin B, calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Kumquats aren’t that difficult to get hold of – certainly Waitrose sell them and it’s likely the larger supermarkets do too.
Make it your 2018 resolution to branch out with your fruit purchases and add something a bit different to your shopping basket. As kumquats need next to no preparation, they’re a good one to start with!
#4 Cavolo Nero
I think we can thank Masterchef for the sudden interest in cavolo nero! Meaning black cabbage in Italian, cavolo nero is a form of curly kale and can be easily cultivated in the British climate. It is already filling supermarket shelves and can be found a lot more easily than it could just twelve months ago!
All varieties of kale and chards (ie leafy greens) are considered by many nutritionists as a superfood (not that you’ll ever hear a degree-qualified nutritionist actually use the term superfood!) because of their rich source of vitamins and minerals and a plant-based compound called glucosinolates.
Cavolo nero is as versatile as all greens and can be used in soups, stews, braised and eaten as a side dish, stir fried or made into crisps.
Orzo stands out among this group as being neither a fruit nor a vegetable but a pasta! These tiny little shapes are sometimes known as rice pasta or risoni, and is a favourite for Italian soups, stews, cooked, cooled and used in salads or simply used like any other pasta and boiled then served with a sauce.
All pasta shapes are remarkably versatile, and orzo is no exception.
Orzo is available in most supermarkets in the pasta aisle.
Seb is a writer and blogger of food and nutrition. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in nutrition science, and has studied sports and exercise nutrition at postgraduate level. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and believes passionately that we can all live with a little less meat. He writes for www.veggieandspice.com and www.itsaboutnutrition.com