It’s hard to believe I know, but another festive season is upon us and as we begin to wind down and prepare for the holidays (YAY), we look back at the year that was and our favourite knowledge nuggets.
JANUARY Food of the Future: 3D Printed Food – while 3D printing previously only involved the likes of plastics and metals, the technology behind it can also be used to manufacture food. A cartridge containing raw materials is inserted; a laser source heats the material for layering and forming which then creates the necessary layers to produce the 3D object of choice. While research is ongoing, so far scientists have had success creating chocolate, dough and sugar.
FEBRUARY Water-Wise Cooking: Steam your vegetables rather than boil them – remember that steaming uses only a fraction of the amount of water, and it’s a much healthier option too. Steamed vegetables retain more nutrients than boiled food; in fact, a Chinese study in 2009 conducted on different cooking methods and broccoli, determined that steaming resulted in less Vitamin C and protein loss than any other cooking method.
MARCH National Frozen Food Month: Freezing is quite simply nature’s pause button – it’s a way of locking in that just-picked freshness, flavour and most importantly of all, nutrients. Studies have shown that frozen vegetables and fruit are as rich in nutrients as their fresh counterparts and in some cases even superior – a University of Georgia study showed that levels of Vitamin A and C, and folates in several frozen vegetables and fruit were actually higher than in fresh produce.
APRIL Feed the World: Nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger – according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), globally we waste 2.9 trillion pounds of food a year, which would be enough to feed the hungry twice over. In developing countries, much of the food is lost post-harvest due to lack of storage or proper transport – in developed nations, the majority of food waste occurs higher up in the food chain with supermarkets and consumers.
MAY Food Myths: ‘Saturated fat is bad for you’ – in the late 70s fat became enemy number one. Demonised, it was abolished from all ‘healthy’ food and replaced with sugar to improve the taste. Three decades later and obesity levels have soared, because as it turns out saturated fat – think delicious steak, whole milk, cheese and real butter – was never bad for you, but excessive carbohydrates, such as sugar, were – and still are.
JUNE Halaal Fish & International Sushi Day: The word ‘sushi’ does not actually refer to raw fish – it actually refers to the vinegar-flavoured rice that may sometimes be paired with raw seafood. Sushi is considered a finger food, so it’s perfectly acceptable to eat it with your hands – chopsticks are usually reserved for sashimi. And as for dipping etiquette, it’s the fish side of a sushi piece that should be dipped in soya sauce and not the rice side.
JULY N1 is HACCP Accredited: Committed to food safety – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP as it’s more commonly known, is an internationally recognised and science based system which identifies, evaluates and controls hazards significant for food safety. A structured approach, it helps companies meet food safety requirements, improves efficiencies, provides a competitive advantage, and engenders trust for customers and stakeholders alike.
AUGUST Reducing Food Spoilage: Invisipeel is preharvest protection that is pesticide-free – and it does so using a concept known as molecular camouflage. In essence, what happens is that bacteria, fungi and insects all identify food sources by recognising specific molecules on produce surfaces, Invisipeel ‘cloaks’ the surface with a micro-thin layer of extracted plant material convincing the fungi and insects that it’s not edible – how amazing is that?!
SEPTEMBER Smart Tech in the Kitchen: The FridgeCam™ – why opt for a smart fridge that could set you back thousands of pounds, when the FridgeCam™ is on pre-order for only £99 with practically the same functionality? ‘It’s the first wireless camera that fits inside any fridge, allowing you to see the contents from anywhere via the Smarter App. In addition [it] will also help track expiry dates, auto-replenish and suggest recipes based on the food in your fridge.’
OCTOBER The Why & How of Sous Vide: ‘Sous vide’ is French for ‘under vacuum’ – in essence it’s food that’s been vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch and then cooked in water. Many people think that it’s simply boiling food in a bag, but it’s not; it’s about heating water to a precise temperature (much lower than what is normally used to cook food) and then allowing the vacuum-sealed item to cook gently over the space of a few hours leaving food tender, succulent and evenly cooked throughout.
NOVEMBER Meals on Mars: What are some of the biggest challenges in designing food for a trip to Mars? ‘For the initial trip to Mars, the food will almost all be pre-positioned, so that it's waiting for them when they arrive. If you consider it's a 6-month trip to Mars, that food is going to be 5 to 7 years old when they get there. The challenge is having enough variety of foods that will last for that length of time, and will be high enough quality that the astronauts won't quit eating.’
DECEMBER Christmas Dishes of Yore: A staggering 39 Dish Menu from Christmas 1660 – one of the earliest known published Christmas menus on record. Written by English chef, Robert May, who was trained in France and spent most of his life creating dishes for the nobility; it lists 39 dishes ranging from pork, goose, pheasant, venison and swan, to name but a few; divided into two courses and rounded off with oysters, citrus fruit and jellies for dessert.
And on that rather opulent note, the N1 team would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your ongoing support and goodwill throughout the year, we wish you all the joys of the festive season, may it be a safe and blessed time for all – Season’s Greetings & Happy Holidays Everyone!