The Hemp Connection + Vegemite

A tribute to our Aussie and vegan readers — a little bit about brewer's yeast!

My friend Steven recently returned from a vacation to Australia. He shared this photo of vegemite ice cream! It reminded me that our friends Down Under have a culinary love affair with a food our vegan readers should become better acquainted with. That is, brewer's yeast.

Vegemite (also known as Marmite if it is produced in the UK, New Zealand, or South Africa, and Cenovis if made in Switzerland) is a dark paste made from brewer's yeast leftover after the brewing process. It's most commonly eaten as a spread on bread, as shown in this photo.

Some of the more common descriptions of Vegemite's taste include: salty, bitter, like beef bouillon. One friend described as"Australian miso". It's never really taken off in the United States, but my friends from places where it is common do seem to"Jones" for it when they've gone awhile without a fix.

Nutritionally, Vegemite is an incredible powerhouse! It is very high in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid, all vitamins which women with PCOS need more of. Kraft, maker of Vegemite, has a website with some interesting recipes for the adventurous reader, including this one for a roast pumpkin and leek risotto. I may have to buy some myself just in the name of trying that one!

One of the things I like about Vegemite is that it is actually made from the leftovers of the beer-making process. In short, leftover yeast cells are processed and combined with salt, celery extract, and onion extract to make the popular black paste. So it's green as well as nutritious, meaning everyone wins!

If you happen to be reading this from Vegemite's home turf, be on the lookout for a new product released just last month. My First Vegemite, actually designed for children, is 50% lower in sodium. It's also fortified with vitamins B6 and B12, which makes it even more attractive to vegans, who have a hard time finding sources of vitamin B12 that are compatible with their food philosophy.

While nutrition purists may insist that Vegemite is too salty, I maintain that in moderation, and used in other recipes, it has its benefits. has not yet picked up this new product but I did find it on eBay.

I'm not an expert on this food, but I'm told Vegemite's cousin Marmite, which is actually available at the local Fresh and Easy, is milder in flavor and also contains vitamin B12 which the original Vegemite does not. That IS available on if you're not close to Australia, Fresh and Easy, or other store catering to expat Aussies.

I'm still wrapping my head around vegemite ice cream…though my adventures with jalapeno beer (local), reindeer sausage (on a trip to Alaska), and elk steak (on a ski trip to Steamboat Springs) were far from disappointing. Hmmmm…may I'll have to scheme a business trip to Australia and do some in-depth journalism…

To our many Aussie readers, thank you for your visits! I see you on our stats and I appreciate your visits. I've actually been timing new posts to show in concert with YOUR early evenings, not ours. I hope you find us helpful, mates…be sure to ask questions when you have them! And if you have ideas for how to use your food that we newbies might appreciate, please share!

To our vegan readers, stay tuned. More on brewer's yeast tomorrow. You REALLY need to become friendly with this nutritional gem.

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A tribute to our Aussie and vegan readers — a little bit about brewer's yeast! + Vegemite