Ground Cover went im search of new and different grain and oilseed products in an outlet of a major supermarket chain. We don't pretend this is a complete, list but it shows clearly grains and Australian oilseeds are equated with healthy eating.
Health food shops are the other outlets for a variety of grain-based products. Thats where you'll find a wider choice of flours, such as buckwheat or lupin flour and corn meal. here's what we found in the supermarket:
- Greenwheat Freekeh, which can be used in a wide variety of ways (see story this page)
- a variety of soya- and pea-based snack foods, and some using other grains for flavour alternatives
- Quickpulse (see under time-savers)
- breads featuring soy flour and kibbles aimed at a newly identified market - women looking for natural oestrogen replacement.
Clearly a burgeoning market. Here we found:
- snack packs of grain-based crackers and spreads, clearly aimed at the school lunch market
- Quickpulse, a time- and labour-saving collection of vacuum-sealed precooked pulses
- Middle Eastern dips based on tahini (sesame seed paste) and chickpeas
- falafel mix (chick peas, broad beans and soybeans)
- vacuum-sealed fresh noodles ranging from Italian stuffed pastas to Hokkien soft and fried noodles; also quick-cooking dried pasta
- bread mixes (for white, wholemeal and multigrain bread; for naan (an Indianstyle bread), focaccia and pizza dough.
More than ever, products are being presented emphasising their healthy grain content or boasting such health benefits as 'cholesterol-free'. Canola oil is everywhere - not just in oils and margarines, but packing tuna and covering gourmet sun-dried tomatoes; canola has definitely been taken up by the market as a healthy choice. We found a related Australian brassica in a new product on the shelves - mustard seed oil. Sunflower oil is promoted as the oil of choice for frying, and together with sesame oil is getting a facelift for gourmet Asian frying oils.
If you're vegetarian or can't handle lactose, there's a whole range of soybean alternatives to dairy and meat products - plain and flavoured, fat-reduced, and calcium-fortified; including, now, soybean cheese and even yogurt - maybe an acquired taste, we thought after sampling the cheese.
Also new to us: oat milk, a grain product containing whole oats, canola oil and soy lecithin.
Different grains are spicing up the shelves of biscuits, breads, crackers and snacks. The range of grain additions is striking, adding 'good health ' and flavour variations to existing products.
Breads: you can now buy '9-grain' (rye, linseed, soy, wheat, corn, sunflower, triticale, barley and oats); bread with soy and linseed; oatmeal bread; bread with barley, sunflower and sesame; and four-seed bread (linseed, soy, linola seed, sesame seed);
Crackers and crispbreads: new variants are adding sesame, buckwheat, soy, flax, sunflower and '9-grain' to the standard white, wholemeal, multigrain and rye varieties.
An exciting new find for some of us was white corn tortillas made in Queensland. Then we read that the corn is imported from the USA. A challenge for our northern growers?