Madhūka is an ingredient that stems from the Madhuca Longifolia tree, which grows in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and India. The founders of ōForest stumbled throughout the ingredient on a visit to India, and realised that the ingredient was versatile sufficient for use in a variety of merchandise.
“The Madhūka flower is nice, since it’s excessive in pure sugars,” Meera Shah, ōForest co-founder, advised FoodNavigator. “That sweetness is intensified in the course of the sun-drying course of (after the flower falls).”
The style will be enhanced, too. “We air roast the sun-dried flowers to offer them a bitterness and crunchy texture that offsets a number of the sweetness with out shedding the pure flavour. Our Madhūka has been described as nutty, caramel-like, malty and virtually coffee-ish. It is one of many few superfoods that may declare such a title.”
ōForest’s is utilized in nibs, which can be utilized with muesli, cereal bars, or ‘as a crunchy topping on breakfasts, yoghurts or desserts,’; tea, which is ‘extra akin to natural infusions quite than conventional teas’ and will be drank ‘sizzling or chilly and would even make a scrumptious bubble tea’; and powder, which can be utilized for smoothies, coffees, milkshakes, and even ‘a candy, teriyaki-style marinade for savoury dishes, or to combine into soups and stews for added depth.’
The well being advantages
In fact, Madhūka was initially used not for pleasure however for its well being advantages. It has lengthy been utilized in Ayurvedic medication, an Indian medication system that has been round for 5000 years.
“Madhūka is excessive in Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin B3, Fibre, important amino acids and antioxidants,” Shah advised us. “Additionally it is salt and fats free. The Powder product can be excessive in Iron and Copper – the distinction coming from the Stamen of the flower, which can be contained throughout the Powder.”
Due to the various vary of nutritional vitamins and minerals within the ingredient, the model can, in response to Shah, make well being claims starting from discount of tiredness and upkeep of bones, contribution ‘to regular formation of crimson blood cells and haemoglobin’ and ‘safety of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative injury.’
Working with farmers
The model works with farmers within the forest with a purpose to domesticate the ingredient for its merchandise. It has helped the farmers to develop the already-existing strategies that they needed to domesticate the ingredient.
“In India, historically, in the course of the quick, annual harvest season, flowers was hand-picked individually off the forest ground after falling,” Shah advised us. “In preparation for this, the native villagers would set intentional forest fires with a purpose to clear the bottom.
“Now we have labored with the forestry alliance and native communities to revamp and train about the usage of harvesting nets. These nets will be tied between timber and seize the falling flowers with out the necessity for handbook assortment.” The outcomes of this have been manufacturing growing by 4 instances, and waste being diminished by 35%, in addition to no extra forest fires.
“As soon as the flowers are collected, they’re sundried for round 2-3 weeks to scale back the moisture ranges from 80% to 12%. We then deliver them over the UK the place we air-roast them to additional cut back the moisture ranges down. At this level, they’re able to be cracked into nibs, floor into powder or blended with different pure elements to make our Teas.”
New to the UK
Madhūka has lengthy been utilized by the individuals who dwell within the space the place the ingredient originates from, however it isn’t till now that the ingredient has discovered its technique to the UK.
“Because of being a primarily tribal, indigenous meals in India, Madhūka has at all times been consumed out of necessity (in Ayurvedic medication) quite than for pleasure and little or no experimentation was achieved with the uncooked product to unlock its full potential,” Shah advised us.
“We’re extraordinarily proud, and really feel very fortunate, to have come throughout it and been in a position to take a look at totally different manufacturing and cooking strategies on it in our labs within the UK.
“We are able to’t watch for customers within the UK to have the ability to strive it and revel in it, and hopefully earlier than lengthy, we can showcase the plethora of what we are able to do with Madhūka in different international locations too.”