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These days we’re hearing more and more about superfoods. It seems almost as though we cannot open a Dutch newspaper or magazine without being confronted with this new culinary craze. But what exactly are superfoods, just why have they become so popular in Dutch kitchens and where can you buy them?
What are superfoods?
Superfood is a generic term for foods that contain a higher than average number of wholesome nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy fats. Examples include raw cacao, chia seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds and wheat grass powder. Yet superfoods are not only limited to these, until recently, largely unknown and rather exotic food products. Indeed, many traditional Dutch meals contain foods, such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, blueberries, mackerel and sardines, which are all considered superfoods.
So, in reality superfoods are nothing new and have been enjoyed by the Dutch and many other cultures for centuries. The only difference is that you can now buy a number of international superfoods from shops and supermarkets, such as goji berries from China and Tibet or chia seeds from Mexico and Guatemala. And, whilst it’s not scientifically proven that superfoods are any healthier than ordinary food (which is why most doctors and nutritionists never use the term “superfood”), it is true that these ‘super’ foods can lend a delicious extra dimension to some of your favourite Dutch recipes!
How can you use superfoods?
Superfoods are incredibly versatile – raw cacao powder for example is made from pure cacao and contains absolutely no added sugar, making it an excellent alternative to Dutch chocolate products and cocoa powders, particularly for those of you who are watching your weight or who cannot eat sugar for other health reasons. It’s simply ideal for preparing one of Holland’s favourite drinks, hot chocolate, and is a yummy ingredient in homemade farmer’s cake, biscuits and tarts, or as a tempting topping on a variety of celebrated Dutch desserts.
Goji berries are another well-known superfood – goji berries are dried red berries that boast a similar appearance and texture to raisins, but are slightly less sweet and possess a wonderfully mild liquorice flavour. Goji berries can be enjoyed straight from the bag as a snack between meals, mixed generously into desserts or used as an ingredient in biscuits and cakes. Similarly, chia seeds and hemp seeds can be stirred directly into breakfast cereals or used as an additional ingredient in homemade bread, cakes and pastries, whilst wheatgrass powder is the perfect superfood in smoothies, juices and shakes.
Why are some superfoods also referred to as “rawfoods”?
Many superfoods are also promoted as “raw”, which means that they are dried or processed at low temperatures. This allows them to retain an optimum number of natural nutrients and results in a superfood with an exceptionally high nutritional value.
Fancy trying some of these delicious superfoods for yourself? Then browse the exciting selection of superfoods and rawfoods available at Holland at Home, and use them to rustle up your very own mouth-watering range of Dutch superfood meals!
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?