Newest food trends

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By Melissa Hight, County Extension

Ever wonder what the newest food trends are? After all, food is about more than just nourishment, it’s also about culture and connection. With that in mind, here are a few of the latest national food trends: 

Grow it, preserve it, enjoy it

Home food preservation has had a rebirth. More people are preserving produce from their gardens or from the farmers market. By doing so, they can satisfy their own preferences for the amount of sugar, salt or other seasoning. Other factors are likely contributing to food trends, such as a weak economy, food recalls and a desire to improve food safety by controlling it from the source to the table.

Make room in the kitchen

Whether it’s because more women are in the workforce or more men are out of jobs, or just because it’s fun to cook, more men are finding their way into the kitchen. What does that mean for the world of food? TV chefs, often men themselves, may have a greater influence on home cooking. Kitchen utensils will rise to gadget status to appeal to men.

Technology to the rescue

Want to find a good vegetarian meal or see the specials are at your local bistro? There’s an app for that. Many of us have plain old phones that we use for calls, but mobile food applications are exploding and offer convenience beyond the name and address of a restaurant. You can get the menu, the prices and a reservation. You can also get everything you need to cook a healthy meal at home...recipe, shopping list, coupons, etc.

Keeping close to home

Consumers are returning to their local merchants for meats, breads and cheeses, and patronizing mom-and-pop diners for local fare. The reason? They want to know more about where the food they eat came from. Consumers are shying away from big businesses that they perceive cut corners in food quality, nutrition or safety.

Expanding the comfort zone

Chefs are entering school cafeterias in some of the larger cities to not only jazz up the menus but to also entice kids to eat healthy food. Both kids and adults have a comfort zone when it comes to foods appearance and flavors. Breaking away from barriers and bad habits can be an exciting food adventure, and one that can wake up your taste buds and improve your outlook on nutritious foods.

The search for the next super food

Baby boomers aren’t settling for functional foods, they want “super foods,” foods that supply nutrients to help preserve vitality and delay aging. The search for the next great super food is already in progress. You can get ahead of the game. Just visit your produce aisle and you’ll find an abundance of super foods

Love fresh fruits and vegetables? Want to enjoy them year round but do not know how to preserve them? Join Brunswick County Cooperative Extension for two scheduled classes from 1-3 p.m. May 25 and June 17. These classes will feature the basics of canning and freezing with instructions on “how-to-do-it.” 

Cost for the food preservation class, including a copy of the “So Easy to Preserve” book and all other materials, is $20. Pre-registration is required by May 10 for the May 25 class and May 27 for the June 17 class. Classes and pressure canner testing are both at the Cooperative Extension Center, 25 Referendum Drive, Building N, Government Complex in Bolivia. Class size is limited. Call 253-2610.