Day 6

Should I eat it?: Grocery trends, from harissa to edible flowers

Day 6 food contributor David Sax shows Brent four of the latest food trends showing up on grocery store shelves, and how you can include them in your Thanksgiving spread.
Cold brew coffee, harissa, grass-fed dairy, and edible flowers

As grocery stores get hip to foodie tastes, more and more food trends are showing up on supermarket shelves - sometimes, just months after they show up in restaurant kitchens and hipster cafes. Day 6 food contributor David Sax, author of The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes But We're Fed Up With Fondue, says you're likely to find these four food trends in your local grocery store. But you should you try them?

Grass-fed dairy
David Sax says grass-fed dairy is the next frontier in dairy, and the natural evolution of consumer demand for organic and local foods.  He says when cattle graze on grass, it produces clean and sweet-tasting milk. "It gets back to the roots of the way that cattle are supposed to eat," says Sax. He says a lot of the problems we associate with conventional dairy and meat has to do with the fact that animals aren't allowed to graze, and are often given antibiotics to combat disease. "This is kind of a reset. The grass-fed dairy movement is saying listen, cows are meant to eat grass and you'll be able to taste the difference - and it'll be healthier for you."

Should you eat it? Yes. David says give grass-fed dairy a try and see if you can tell a difference between it and conventional dairy.

Harissa is a North African hot paste made from chilli and and a variety of spices such as cumin and coriander. David Sax says it has been blowing up recently because of increased embrace of global hot sauces and spices, such as chipotle and sriracha. Sax says Harissa isn't just hot, it's spicy, flavourful and smoky too.

Should you eat it?  Absolutely. "It has real complexity to it," says Sax. He says try a harissa rub on your Thanksgiving bird, or try it on roast potatoes.
Edible flowers
Some chefs say including flowers in our dishes can be an interesting way to add interest and colour. David Sax says they're showing up on more and more restaurant plates, but he's not convinced. He thinks the trend is overdone and ultimately, kind of pointless. "Why are you ruining something with flowers?" Sax asks.

Should you eat it? No. They are pointless and also don't taste good.
Cold brew coffee
David Sax says this is one of the hottest cold beverage trends to come along in recent years. He says everywhere from hipster coffee joints to Starbucks have started to offer cold brew coffee. It's made by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for at least 12 hours, and it's served cold. Sax says that results in coffee without the acidity, char and burn that sometimes comes with traditionally brewed coffee. You can find it alongside bottled ice teas in many supermarkets.

Should you eat it? This one is a maybe. Sax says you might be paying a lot of money for something that doesn't even involve a machine being used to make it. He says it might not be worth the expense, though if you're a lover of iced coffee you might appreciate the difference.