Home cooks, chefs, manufacturers and retailers alike are excited about fall, as the harvest of seasonal vegetables offers a multitude of opportunities. Each fall, food-trend forecasters select the “it” vegetable for the coming year—the one destined to dominate side dishes and even beverages. This year, however, it’s literally an open field. As The New York Times1 says, when it comes to the vegetable of the year in 2021, “take your choice.”.
Over the past year, the experts at Marukan have noticed consumer interest in healthier diets has led to a renaissance in the popularity of vegetables like squashes, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant and the ever-popular pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Several factors are colliding to drive this popularity with consumers.
It’s long been known that eating fresh vegetables provide a variety of nutrients in ways that pills, or supplements simply cannot equal. There’s also a much greater focus on the food-body connection as people consider the impact a healthy diet can have on one’s ability to fight disease1—a key concern in the era of COVID variants.
Family Dining is Here to Stay
Consumers are certainly venturing out more as they learn to navigate pandemic reality, but one thing experts don’t see changing is a stronger emphasis on family dining2. Once thought to be a lost art, cooking, experimenting with new recipes and eating with significant others has grown continually over the past 18 months and shows no signs of stopping. Produce Business sees recipe experimentation, eating fresh produce, making healthier food choices, and putting new spins on old favorites among the top food trends this year2.
Fall vegetables make for beautiful table décor but getting them into the kitchen can be daunting for even experienced cooks. Incorrect cooking methods or seasoning combinations can over-emphasize the earthy and sometimes bitter attributes of root vegetables. The culinary experts at Marukan explain that balancing flavor is the key. Not just with vegetables, but with any dish. Cooking is chemistry. By understanding the right ingredient combinations, you can balance the acidity and overwhelming flavor bursts some vegetables provide.
It’s All About Balance
Marukan has known for centuries that vinegar is a flavor enhancer and balancer. By experimenting with different quantities of vinegar, you can de-escalate or elevate flavors with food, especially vegetables. A perfect example of the power of balance is apple cider vinegar. Whether in shots, as an ingredient in smoothies or in a sauce for meat entrees, the fact is, it can be very tart and acidic. Blending it with a smoother and milder rice vinegar balances the flavor and makes it more palatable. The same principle works to enhance or mute the flavors and acidity in vegetables.
With balance, fall vegetables can be in the best supporting role, such as a side dish like Roasted Eggplant Agrodolce balanced with Marukan Genuine Brewed Rice Vinegar or in a salad such as Kale and Butternut Squash Salad using an Organic Marukan Rice Vinegar. Perhaps you need to take the flavor up a notch to create a show-stopping entrée like Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Steaks using Marukan Rice Vinegar or Beef and Broccoli with just the right portion of Marukan Apple Cider Vinegar. As you can see, vinegars are an indispensable part of every professional chef’s and home cook’s pantry.
Marukan is there to help cooks of every type put their best feet forward with its unparalleled expertise at crafting premium rice vinegar since 1649. A family brand with global resources and culinary insights, Marukan offers a variety of recipes that are created for every occasion. Products are Non-GMO Project Verified3, Vegan Certified4, Kosher5, and naturally gluten and allergen-free. The brand also offers Certified Organic6 rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar options.
Marukan Has the Resources You Need
If you’re looking to make the most of the fall harvest this year, experiment with the many ways rice and apple cider vinegars alone, or in combination, can make you the center of attention for all the right reasons.
For grocery retailers and foodservice operators, Marukan brings its vast resources to bear to help ensure you’re using the balancing power of premium quality vinegar to keep your customers coming back for more. The flavor combinations are limited only by one’s imagination, making Marukan vinegars a pantry priority year-round.
- How Will We Eat in 2021? 11 Predictions to Chew On, Kim Severson, The New York Times, December 2020
- Top Seven Trends for Fresh Produce in 2021, Raul Fernandez, Produce Business, February 2, 2021
- Non-GMO Project Verified, 11/18/2020
- Vegan Certified, Natural Food Certifiers 12/20/20
- Star-K Kosher Certified, 2/18/2020
- Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth under USDA Organic Regulations 8150001232, 8/6/2002