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article image2014 food trend predictions: Freekah, 'year of gin', tea leaves

By Layne Weiss     Jan 6, 2014 in Food
Happy New Year, everyone! It's time to dish about what 2014 has in store for us in food trends. Find out why everyone will soon be talking about the side dish freekah and why tea will see a big boost this year.
People went crazy over cronuts, ramen burgers, and even something as simple as kale.
And we were totally obsessed with sriracha!
According to NPR's Bonny Wolf, in 2014, tea will be HUGE. Not just drinking tea, but tea leaves will be used in desserts, entrees, and cocktails.
In the fall of 2013, Starbucks opened its first tea shop.
2014 may also be the "year of gin" which is predicted to be made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.
Quinoa has been a major craze, and now it looks like some grains which are "new" to us, but ancient to the world, could become just as popular. Teff and freekah, which was deemed in 2013 as "the next hot supergrain," are expected to become just as familiar to us as quinoa is by the end of the year.
So, what is freekah? Freekah is wheat that has been harvested when it is young and green. It is then roasted. Its flavor resembles that of bulgur wheat, but with a "grassier note." It also has a taste and texture similar to barley, but people who have tried it note that it has a smokiness to it.
What makes freekah so special? Is green wheat really different than regular wheat?
A study by Australian researchers with CSIRO found that when wheat is harvested young it retains more fiber, protein, and minerals than wheat that is harvested when it's "mature."Freekah has three times as much fiber as brown rice and two times more fiber than quinoa.
Freekah also contains resistant starch, a carbohydrate which acts like a fiber and keeps you feeling full longer.
You can buy freekah in the grain aisle at stores like Whole Foods. You can also get an 8-oz bag on Amazon for $4.99
Use freekah in place of rice or barley in dishes like risotto and salads. Use cracked freekah in your tabbouleh or whole cooked freekah in a parfait with fruit and yogurt. Toss the freekah with maple syrup or honey first. Then layer it with fruit and yogurt.
A very interesting trend to expect in 2014 is markets selling food past its "sell by" date. A study found that we threw out 40 percent of our food in 2013, so the former President of Trader Joe's has decided to open a market which sells perfectly fine food past its "sell by" date, turning "expired food into cheap meals."
Oh, and by the way, cauliflower is the new Brussels sprout for 2014.
Eating local and foraging are already popular. Expect this to continue.
There will be a lot of goat, rabbit, and pigeon.
The meats will be flavored with za'atar and sumac, which are very popular in the Middle East.
Ice cream sandwiches will be really popular for dessert.
Interested in trying something new? the Huff Post has a list of foods we need to try this year! Some are very familiar like apples, coffee, sesame seeds, and kale. Others are new,and pretty exciting like salsify, a root vegetable which resembles a parsnip that is low-in-calorie and high in fiber.
Shichimi Togarashi, a Japanese spice blend which often includes chili powder, seaweed, and orange or tangerine peel, will quite literally be hot in 2014.
Happy eating, world!
More about 2014 food, Food trends, cauliflower, Tea, freekah
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