Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vegetable-based wraps

Last February I wrote about the work that the ARS—Agricultural Research Service, part of the USDA—was doing on edible films made of pureed fruits and vegetables (see Making food safer, in a cool way). Now it turns out that a small company in Stockton, California, called Origami Foods has taken the ARS technology and turned it into a commercial product.

The company makes two products based on the technology: Chef Wraps and Glaze Sheets. The Chef Wraps were designed to replace seaweed in sushi, although their use does not have to be confined to fish. For example, Origami Foods suggests using their carrot/ginger wrap to make a "sushi" roll with pork tenderloin, sweet potato and cilantro. Or use the strawberry wrap to make a sweet sushi with fresh strawberries.

The Glaze Sheets are edible films that have flavorings in them. The film is used to cover a piece of meat, poultry or fish; it then dissolves onto the surface like a glaze and in the process transfers the flavor to the food. An example is an apple-based film flavored with maple and cinnamon, used to flavor something like ham. Or a smoked mango film, which would be great on salmon.

You can buy the Origami products at some Trader Joe's, Wegman's and Costco outlets. Or you can order them online directly from Origami. There are 12 flavors of Chef Wrap (including carrot, broccoli, tomato-basil, peach and barbecue). They come in packs of 10 sheets (7 x 8 inches) for $5.50 or 20 sheets for $10.50.

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