Monday, July 13, 2015

For the Love of Beets

Ahhh, Summer at The produce abounds in the food pantry, and the black pop-up crates filled with lovely vegetables from the Hoosier Hills Food Bank Garden begin rolling in. In recent weeks the featured veggie has been beets! Those deep purple globes inspire responses on both extremes; you either love 'em or you hate 'em. I happen to be on the positive end of the spectrum, especially this season. I just can't get enough of that that rich, earthy taste. Beets are one vegetable best enjoyed fresh from the garden. I have been told this is because as soon as they are harvested, their sugars begin to convert to starches, so the closer you are to the moment of harvest, the sweeter the beet. I can't find verification for this, other than my own taste buds. A freshly pulled beet, steamed or roasted within hours of harvest, is like nothing else on this earth.

In our newest weekly drop-in cooking
demonstration, Kids Cook, we had a chance to sample this garden fresh sweetness in a colorful Beet Hummus dip. We oven-roasted the beets beforehand, covered with foil. Once they are fork-tender, the peels slip off easily. The kids helped pile all the ingredients into the bowl of the food processor, and we whirred away until the dip became smooth and creamy. Most exciting was the color! Several of our helpers were wearing some shade of pink on their clothes, and we had fun comparing, looking for the best match to the beet hummus. The lemon zest brightens the flavor, to match the color.

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