Vegemite – the taste of Australia

Vegemite – the taste of Australia

Jar of Vegemite

“She just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich” – From Down Under by Men at Work

Have you ever seen an Australian light up at the word Vegemite? They are addicted to the stuff! Makes me wonder what else is added to keep them all coming back for more! It is certainly an “acquired” taste to the rest of us! I guess since I am in the Land Down Under, I better give it a good effort! So what exactly is Vegemite, anyway?

Vegemite is a brownish black, thick paste that is derived from the left over brewers’ yeast extract that is discarded  in beer manufacturing. It also contains various vegetable and spice additives. 

Vegemite was branded as a product, originating in Melbourne, in 1923 after the imports of the comparable British marmite spread became less available after WW1. It was touted as a healthy spread, especially for children, as it contains high levels of B vitamins. Today, over 22 million jars of Vegemite are sold every year and it is found in 9 out of 10 Australian homes!

It has a strong salty, malty, slightly bitter, umami flavour. It is very unique and distinct. A little goes a long way! The iconic Vegemite sandwich, an Aussie cultural phenomenon, is as simple as 2 pieces of bread with butter and Vegemite spread. It is often spread on crumpets and crackers but can also be used in savory pastries such as this Cheesy Vegemite Scroll recipe. Some chefs also use it in soups, stocks and sauces. The official Vegemite website has a number of creative recipes for trying as well!

Some nutrition facts:

  • High in the water soluble B vitamins 1,2,3 and 9. 1 tsp daily can provide up to 50 percent of daily requirements.
  • Thiamine (B1) supports brain function.
  • Riboflavin (B2) supports the nervous system.
  • Niacin (B3) supports metabolism.
  • Folate (B9) helps prevent birth defects and combat fatigue.
  • Contains glutamic acid, an amino acid essential for protein synthesis and is responsible for the umami flavour of Vegemite.
  • Contains no animal product and is a great addition for a vegan diet due to B vitamins.
  • Fat free.
  • Sugar free.
  • Contains gluten so not safe for Celiacs.
  • High in sodium, people with high blood pressure should eat in moderation.

Vegemite may not be the flavour fave for everyone but in the Land Down Under it is a national staple! If you ever take a trip to Australia, place it on your list of things to try! You can also find it in specialty stores that import ethnic foods.

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Inner Vision Health and Wellness Karyn Lawson RMT INHC