From Kefir to Sauerkraut to 'soup-ing', these are the foods and methods of cooking we'll be obsessed with over the next 12 months
Are you day four into Veganuary and already dreaming of half a cow sandwiched in a brioche bun with a side of milkshake? We hope not. But if so, stay strong, and perhaps Lakeland’s list of top food trends of 2018 will distract you.
Last year’s foodie fads had mixed success. While Buddha bowls, poke and avocado got a big thumbs up, for charcoal buns and insects, let’s just say the jury is still out. So what’s in store for this new year?
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1. Pickles and fermentation
With the rise and rise of Korean staple kimchi, this trend was almost inevitable. But it’s because the pickling process is being made so much easier that Lakeland predicts it will be big in 2018.
We’ve been fermenting foods since the 1800s in order to make them last longer in the absence of fridges, but it’s always been a bit of a faff. However, last year Lakeland launched a new system of fermentation jars that makes it super simple. You don’t need to use muslin cloths, or worry that your batch might get contaminated or even explode. The special container is airtight, with a special valve that allows built-up gas to escape automatically.
To create a delicious sauerkraut, you need just two very affordable ingredients, cabbage and salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage for a few minutes unti it starts to produce liquid – this is a natural brine. Then pop the whole lot in the jar, cover the cabbage with water, weigh it down with a ramekin full of baking beans and pop on the lid.
Three days later, it will be ready to eat – but leave it a little longer and you’ll get a stronger flavour. once you’re happy with the taste, just pop it in the fridge to stop the fermenting process. It will keep for months, and is full of healthy bacteria that does wonders for your gut.
Alternatives to cabbage include celery and dill, beetroot and juniper, or ginger and carrot. You can also use it to make kimchi, pickles or chutney, or kefir, which leads us on to the next trend…
For the uninitiated, Kefir is a fermented milk that’s a bit like yogurt. The main difference is that’s more drinkable and richer in probiotic bacteria, and it does wonders for your immune system. If you’re looking to be healthier in 2018, it’s one for the shopping list.
Lakeland – natch – has introduced its own kits so you can make Kefir at home. And the good news for vegans is that you can substitute milk for soy, coconut milk or even fruit juice.
Each sachet makes a litre of kefir, which you can drink, add to a smoothie, serve over your breakfast cereal, or use to make kefir cheese. It also works as a starter for sourdough bread.
3. Pressure cooking
Speedy pressure cookers used to be a staple of the kitchen. That is, until tales of Die Hard-style explosions coupled with the arrival of the microwave saw many retired to the loft, charity shop or bin. But could a revival be on the cards? Lakeland thinks so.
‘No longer a tin pot rattling away on the hob, today’s pressure cookers are super easy to use, safe, and effective,’ Samm Swain, buying director at Lakeland, tells us. Exclusive to Lakeland, the Graphologie pressure cooker can cook a risotto 80 per cent quicker than if you were to make it in a pan. And you don’t have to stand over it, stirring every few minutes.
It’s even got the cooking times of common dishes on the side, so you don’t need to look them up. A delicious dinner in a fraction of the time? We’ll take that.
Ever since The New York Times hailed it as ‘the new juicing‘, soup-ing has been on the rise. And 2018 is set to be its biggest year yet.
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‘The trend for soup making has truly taken off,’ says Samm. ‘We’re seeing more and more demand for products to help customers create fresh, healthy meals at home. It follows on from the trend we’ve seen for people wanting to “eat like their grandparents”. In other words, going back to basics and cooking wholesome, hearty meals from scratch, while avoiding eating anything that their great-grandparents wouldn’t have recognised as food.’
Backing up Samm’s comments is the fact that Lakeland sold 75 per cent more of its Touchscreen Soup Maker this autumn compared with last. And sales are still on the up.
So there you have it – Lakeland’s food trends of 2018. But which ones tickle your tastebuds?