Macquarie Dictionary


Plants that can transform: have you tried jackfruit, Irish moss or seitan?

New words spring up in the food industry all the time. Look at cronut, Frankenfruit or halal snack pack, to name a few.

But one of the food streams has an abundance of new words emerging. With the rise of faux meat and vegan substitutes, we look at the plants behind these creations, find out more about their origins and what food they can be transformed into.

Have you ever tried pulled jackfruit? Have you ever used aquafaba in baking? Do you sprinkle nutritional yeast on your food?

Tell us in the comments!


Macquarie Dictionary-flax-any plant of the genus Linum, especially L. usitatissimum, a slender, erect annual plant with narrow, lance-shaped leaves and blue flowers, much cultivated for its fibre and seeds. From Middle English; Old English fleax, flax is commonly used as an egg replacer by adding flax meal with water.
Macquarie Dictionary-jackfruit-a Polynesian tree, Artocarpus heterophyllus, with a fruit resembling breadfruit.

jack-, from Portuguese jaca, is used as a meat replacer as it can mimic the texture of pulled pork.


Macquarie Dictionary-seitan-wheat gluten.  

Of Japanese origin, seitan is a common meat substitute, such as mock duck.


Macquarie Dictionary-Irish Moss-this seaweed, dried and bleached, used as a substitute for gelatine, and commercially as a thickening agent; carrageen. Chondrus crispus, of the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America, Irish moss is a substitute for gelatine due to its binding properties.
Macquarie Dictionary-tempeh-a fermented soybean cake. From Malay, tempeh is also a common meat substitute. Tempeh is often described as tasting similar to meat, nuts and mushrooms.
Macquarie Dictionary-hemp-a tall, annual herb, Cannabis sativa, native to Asia, but cultivated in many parts of the world, and yielding hashish, bhang, cannabin, etc. Middle English; Old English henep, hænep, hemp can be used as food and other nutraceuticals.
Macquarie Dictionary-umami-a taste category, distinguished from sweet, sour, salt, and bitter, which is described as being the taste of freshness common to savoury food such as meat, cheese, mushrooms etc. Not a type of food, but rather a taste. Of Japanese origin, umami is referred to as the “fifth taste” by many, and is said to resemble meat and cheese. An example of a food that produces this sensation is shitake mushrooms.

Words we are watching…

Macquarie Dictionary-aquafaba-the viscous water inside of can of chickpeas. Aquafaba is viscous liquid found inside the can of chickpeas. It can be used as an egg replacer for meringues and other baked foods.
Macquarie Dictionary-nutritional yeast-a nutty, cheesy flavour, derived by culturing the yeast in a nutrient medium for several days, then harvesting, washing and drying the bright yellow flakes. Used particularly in vegan dishes as a source of protein, nutritional yeast is said to have a cheesy flavour that resembles parmesan cheese.

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