A new way of processing broccoli could help you get your servings of vegetables, while dealing with the wastage of “unsightly” food.
We’re talking dried, ground to fine powder, and stirred into your coffee.
If it sounds gross, well, it might be. According to the drink’s Australian creators, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Hort Innovation, it’s received “mixed” reviews at the Melbourne cafe which served it to caffeine-loving customers.
But coffee isn’t the only potential application for the powdered brassica. The CSIRO has also added it to extruded snacks, and it could also work as an ingredient for smoothies, muffins, and soup.
Approximately two tablespoons of the powder is equivalent to one serve of vegetables, as per the Australian government’s recommended five to seven daily serves. Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamins C, K, A and B6, as well as folate, magnesium and potassium, among other nutrients.
“Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this,” said Hort Innovation’s John Lloyd.
A lot of produce is wasted before it even gets to the store shelves because it’s “ugly”. Some of these ugly fruits and vegetables can be used for juicing, and “superfood” powders made from vegetables such as chia and kale have been around for a while.
In the case of the new broccoli powder, it uses the whole broccoli – florets and stems. No wasted chunks thrown in the bin like in your typical cooking process.
The production process involves pre-treatment before drying and powdering the vegetable, to retain as much of the original colour, flavour and nutrients as possible.
The result may even be healthier than stir-fried florets – according to recent research, the best way to maximise the health benefits of broccoli is to chop it up as finely as possible to produce myrosinase activity (although the CSIRO hasn’t mentioned if myrosinase survives the drying process, so the jury is still out).
To make broccoli coffee, the powder is added to the cup after the espresso shot has been pulled. Steamed milk is added, and more broccoli powder is sprinkled on top.
It sounds… rather more broccoli-flavoured than many might usually prefer their coffee to be, and doesn’t take into account drinkers who prefer their brew without milk.
The next step, however, is to investigate bringing powdered broccoli to the consumer market, so you might soon have a chance to try it out yourself at home.
“I see this project as the emerging new food trend,” said John Said of broccoli producer Fresh Select.
“Australians don’t eat enough vegetables and farmers across Australia will have access to an alternative market whilst improving farm yields and sustainability. They will also be contributing to healthier lifestyles!”
We’re not entirely sure it’s going to catch on as a coffee additive, but, as the blue algae latte shows, stranger things have happened.