The 2024 Flavor Of The Year Is...

McCormick predicts that sweet, sour, complex tamarind will pop up in more places next year.

The 24th edition of McCormick's annual Flavor Forecast, in which the seasoning company predicts next year's biggest flavor, has arrived. Last year's edition predicted that in 2023 we would collectively embrace full-fat cooking, French cuisine, and spicy food. Thus, McCormick named Vietnamese Cajun Style Seasoning the flavor of 2023. However, 2024's forecast is broader, and the number-one flavor chosen by the brand this year is tamarind—an international ingredient that people across the world to add tart sweetness to their dishes, whether they're preparing a savory meal or a dessert.

Tamarind is McCormick’s Flavor of the Year

Tamarind, though often overlooked in the United States, provides cuisines around the globe a tangy flavor with slight caramel and raisin notes. It's the edible legume of the tamarind tree and is found in both Africa and Asia. Straight from its pod, the fruit can be quite sour, but that's part of what makes it such a great ingredient in cooking.

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Combined with sugar, tamarind's flavor also makes for a great confection, as evidenced by spicy tamarind candy, but it's also widely used in Mexican, Indian, Caribbean, and Thai cooking. (Tamarind Jarritos, anyone?) You can find it in foods like chutney and curry, pad thai, and agua fresca. But it also plays a key role in some unexpected foods, like Worcestershire sauce, to boost the condiment's complexity.

McCormick's Flavor Forecast is, of course, an opportunity to promote its own spices and seasonings, so it's celebrating the 2024 flavor of the year with a new Tamarind & Pasilla Chile Seasoning. This is a natural pairing, considering tamarind is featured in plenty of dishes that also contain chiles; McCormick recommends using the blend in its recipes for Sticky Sweet Chamoy ribs, Tangy Feta Dip, and Guava Margaritas.

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If you think you've never had tamarind before, pop a piece of tamarind candy in your mouth and pay close attention to its flavor. Once you're familiar with it, you might start noticing those sour brown sugar notes in many of the foods you already love. You're probably already a fan of tamarind, even if you never realized you were.

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