Vegemite is Australia’s version of ketchup. It’s a salty, thick spread produced using leftover brewer’s yeast extract. Consider it a non-bitter, non-smelly Marmite.
Many Australian Prime Ministers have referred to Vegemite as the most Aussie item in the world. As can be seen, Australians have a particularly unique affinity with their national spread.
What exactly is Vegemite? My objective is to learn about the history of this wonderful and famous Australian sandwich spread, how it is used in dishes, and where it originated.
I’ll also provide some cooking methods for using Vegemite, as well as some recipes, so you can get the most out of your container of this thick and salty yeast extract.
Are you looking for classic Aussie cuisine? Check out our other resource:
- What is Traditional Australian Food?
- 1 What Exactly Is Vegemite, and How Is It Made?
- 2 The Origins of Vegemite
- 3 The Distinctions Between Vegemite and Marmite
- 4 Components of Vegemite
- 5 Is Vegemite free of gluten?
- 6 Vegetarian? Is Vegemite vegetarian?
- 7 Is Vegemite Good for You?
- 8 How to Consume Vegemite
- 9 Substitutes for Vegemite
- 10 Other Alternatives
What Exactly Is Vegemite, and How Is It Made?
The brewer’s yeast that remains after the beer has been brewed is an important element in Vegemite.
Umami-flavored spreads are common in Australia and are often smeared on toast or swirled into dishes to intensify the tastes. They are used in many dishes to give depth and taste, similar to marmite.
Vegemite is one of various yeast extract spreads available in Australia. To create flavor, leftover brewers yeast is blended with veggies and spices in the dish.
It is one of the richest known sources of Vitamin B and is almost black with a very dark, reddish-brown colour (B1 and B2).
The Origins of Vegemite
Fred Walker (1884-1935), owner of the Fred Walker Cheese Company in Melbourne, Australia, sought to develop a yeast extract that would be both tasty and healthful for his consumers. Dr. Cyril P. Callister, the principal scientist at the firm Fred controlled, created Vegemite.
Brewers yeast and yeast extract, celery, onion, salt, and a few other components were mixed into the mixture.
A nationwide competition was organized in 1924 to name the new product, with the winner receiving 50 pounds. Sheilah, Fred’s daughter, picked the name Vegemite after reviewing all of the submissions.
Vegemites’ strange and distinctive taste was not initially popular, and sales were sluggish. In order to compete with the English yeast spread Marmite, vegemite was rebranded and registered as Parwill in 1928. (which had dominated the Australian market since 1910). If Marmite was the solution, Walker’s case for finding a place in the market for his spread was Parwill.
Walker, however, failed to acquire popularity under the brand Parwill, selling his product in Queensland for just a brief time. After being removed in 1935, the old name was finally reintroduced.
In 1925, the Walker firm made an agreement with the Chicago-based Kraft corporation to manufacture cheese in Australia. As a consequence, Kraft Walker Cheese Co. was founded alongside Fred Walker and Company. Walker exploited his success with processed cheese to begin a fresh push to resurrect Vegemite in 1935.
The Fred Walker Cheese Company began a two-year coupon redemption promotion in which consumers could win a jar of Vegemite for every other product bought. Vegemites’ success was certain, and Aussies welcomed it.
Two years later, the corporation catapulted this product to the center of national attention once again with a poetry competition. American Pontiac vehicles were imported as a reward for winning, and this is how sales increased as more individuals joined the sweepstakes.
Kraft Foods bought the baking recipe and production skills in 1935, and the goods have been made in the United States ever since. In 1939, the British Medical Association approved the product, enabling physicians to offer it to their patients as a nutritionally balanced, Vitamin B-rich diet.
J. Walter Thompson advertising launched marketing efforts for Vegemite in 1954, such as the Happy Little Vegemite Song, which was sung by groups of cheerful, healthy youngsters. The song was originally aired on radio in 1954, and then on television in 1956. Marketing efforts like this one lasted until the 1960s, propelling Vegemite to new heights.
The Distinctions Between Vegemite and Marmite
Real devotees who have tasted both Vegemite and Marmite say that Vegemite is a more powerful combination. Nonetheless, Vegemite’s color (in a container, it seems black, but over toast or crackers, it becomes a dark brown hue), consistency (like nut butter), and umami taste are all distinct characteristics.
Marmite is a light, sweet, syrupy spread that is lighter and simpler to spread than jam.
The biggest difference is that Marmite tastes better, especially if you were reared with it. If you haven’t tried either brand yet, you should give them both a go and see which side comes out on top. Personally, I like Vegemite better since it is less salty and has a stronger yeast taste.
Components of Vegemite
Salt, wheat maltodextrin, sugar, vegetable extract (malt, onion, celery), whey, flavor enhancer 621 (MSG), spice extracts (clove oil, ginger oil), and added vitamin B1 are the key components in Vegemite (thiamin).
Vegemite contains a lot of salt, roughly 23 mg per teaspoon, or about 5% of most people’s recommended daily sodium consumption.
Is Vegemite free of gluten?
The original form contains wheat by-products. There is some good news, however: the business has developed a gluten-free version of Vegemite (using gluten-free yeast).
Since there is no gluten-free variant of Marmite, Vegemite has monopolized the gluten-free market.
Vegetarian? Is Vegemite vegetarian?
Vegemites’ secret weapon is a combination of ingredients that provide its unique taste, making it vegan and vegetarian friendly.
That may seem strange, but once you try it, youll discover that it can bring out the flavor in a variety of recipes as well as the umami or meaty flavour that helps make vegan foods more fulfilling.
Is Vegemite Good for You?
That certainly is! Because of its high quantities of B vitamins, doctors recommend Vegemite as a health supplement. One teaspoon of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B9 contains up to half of your daily recommended dosage. B vitamins are important for brain function, which is why Vegemite is strong in them.
Consumers wishing to cut their sodium consumption without giving up their favorite spread may now choose Vegemite 25% less salt, with the same tremendous flavour as Vegemite.
How to Consume Vegemite
When you start putting it on toast and butter, make sure you’re aware of how strong the taste is. Your sandwich does not include peanut butter. A quarter teaspoon on toast should enough for your first taste.
Vegemite may also be used as a gravy or soup enhancer, or as a chef could remark, Give that shepherds pie a touch of Vegemite to brighten it up. Since it offers a pure umami flavor, a little amount will improve the flavor of a stew, chili, or gravy.
To scrape Vegemite correctly, hold the jar at a 45-degree angle, broadside to your plate. Next, using friction and gravity, press down forcefully with the thin edge of the pot to scrape out a thick clump of Vegemite.
Because of its density and viscosity, less is more when it comes to obtaining a good scrape; too little and your tongue will not receive that rich experience; too much and your mouth will be inundated with salty.
Substitutes for Vegemite
Vegemite is similar to Marmite in taste and consistency, although it is thinner. Use it as a Vegemite substitute on toast or as a rub for poultry.
Miso is distinct from Vegemite in that it is creamy, salty, spreadable, and full of umami. Spread with a little butter on bread. It is, nevertheless, a tasty replacement. Choose a darker, more aged miso to extract the maximum salt and umami from it.
Several yeast extract spreads with comparable texture and taste characteristics are available across the globe, including Swiss Cenovis, New Zealand Marmite (not to be confused with English Marmite), Australian Promite, and OzEmite.