Life Eat & Drink Liquid mushroom anyone? The bizarre latest food trends
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Liquid mushroom anyone? The bizarre latest food trends

functional mushrooms
Could mushroom tea or coffee be the next dirty chai? Photo: Getty
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Pick out those unchewable strings of kale from between your teeth, the superfood nightmare is over. Mushrooms are the new kale!

Functional mushrooms – mushrooms with medicinal qualities – are among the must-haves for the coming year: mushroom elixirs, teas and mushroom-flavoured coffee.

Mushrooms featured in the top 10 food trends set to sweep the world in 2018, according to Whole Foods Market, the all-natural global grocery chain also known as the organic bread-basket bastard child of Amazon.com.

For people with less time and money – offset by chronic constipation – these food trends are something new to mock while sitting down to a plate of ham-flavoured baked beans, school barbecue sausages and whatever tangy pasta sauce is on special.

But the world’s surely going to be a better place with:

Functional mushrooms

Researchers for years have been examining the medicinal properties of some mushrooms – shitake, oyster, enoki and ‘the queen of mushroom’ reishi.

Most notably, reishi has been claimed that they boost immunity, help with weight loss, boost hair quality and work to calm anxiety.

The short answer is: there might be something in it.

Tero Isokauppila, a Finnish chemist and author of a forthcoming book about “healing mushrooms” started a company called Four Stigmatic that markets a reishi hot chocolate mix and a reishi elixir.

Reishi, which grows on logs and makes a woody sound when knocked upon, contains polysaccharides which are thought to boost white blood cells and prevent radical development of blood vessels, which occurs with cancer.

It also contains triterpenes that may lower cholesterol.

Edible flowers

edible-flowers
Rice pudding brulee garnished with edible flowers and mint. Photo: Getty

This seems so 1985. And Whole Foods admits edible flowers have been “embraced” by “foragers and culinary stars” for years.

In reality, Australian Women’s Weekly subscribers have been tossing pansies and violets through their dinner party salad greens since dripolator coffee was in vogue.

Whole Foods believes lavender lattes and “rose-flavoured everything” is on the up.

If you’re not drinking hibiscus tea, hot or iced, and flavouring your cocktails with elderflower, then you’re not worth talking to.

Super powders

The Australian Federal Police last week stopped 500 kilos of this stuff at the border … hang on, that was cocaine. Interestingly, one of the super powders spruiked by Whole Foods is maca root, a relative of broccoli which also grows in the Andes and allegedly wakes you up, much like cocaine or even more powerfully, coffee.

Whole Foods predicts spirulina and kale powders are set to transform smoothies.

Likewise, ground turmeric is still on the rise. And don’t forget Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for shiny hair and nails, perfect for grandma at Christmas.

Transparency 2.0

The idea of more comprehensive product labelling may sound good, but for the immediate future this means more clarity about genetically modified foods, where tuna comes from, and calories information.

It is not the revolution consumers are waiting for.

Bleeding vegan burgers and fish-flavoured tomatoes

Some may see this as a vegan conspiracy: produce animal-free meat and dairy products that carnivores will adore.

Is this a trend or a try-on? Keep at it, poyndexters!

Puffed and popped everything

chocolate-quinoa
Chocolate quinoa cake. Photo: Getty

Parsnip and brussels sprout crisps, puffed pasta bowties and chocolate crispy quinoa.

In other words, anything than can be stripped of nutrition and made crispy and eaten in front of the television.

Tacos wrapped in seaweed

That’s right. Throw away the taco shell and wrap those spicy beans in pikelets or tofu skin. Do whatever the hell you want and call it a taco.

Root-to-stem eating

This is actually a good idea: use all of a vegetable, not just the head or the heart. Broccoli stem slaw, pickled watermelon rind and pesto from beetroot leaves. Less waste, and pretty tasty. But will people bother beyond the novelty value?

Flavoured mineral water

Don’t argue. It’s a brand-new idea: to flavour water with sap from maple and birch trees.

Whole Foods also suggests strawberries and grapefruit and lime and … all those other flavours that have been sitting in service station refrigerators for a decade.

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