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Beets Replace Tomatoes!!

 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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In the last few weeks I've stumbled upon a bit of a breakthrough that I haven't seen anywhere it seems.  My partner is allergic to all nightshades, and desperately misses pasta sauce and salsa.   I thought that perhaps most of the flavor of these foods is actually from the spices rather than the tomatoes, and recalled my time living overseas where fellow American expats, lacking apples, made very passable apple pie from unripe mangoes!  And we happened to have a row of old beets still in the ground needing to find a use, with which I was already playing around....I tried grating some and fermenting them like sauerkraut....these are still not done so the jury is out on that one.  But, being red, and slightly sweet....I wondered.....
     So I pressure-cooked the beets till the skin slipped and they were done through....whole, so as to retain the red and the juice.  Three minutes at 15 pounds.  Let them cool and peel them.  Then blended them into a puree with some water added....and put in a big pot.  Immediately it had the look and texture of a bright red tomato sauce!   Then, in both cases, I prepared (mostly by frying a bunch of onion and garlic, and chopping up the other fresh stuff) all of the seasonings and spices that I'd normally put in tomato-based pasta sauce and salsa.  With one addition...vinegar.  The vinegar (and lime juice, in the case of the salsa) replaced the natural acid of the tomatoes.   The result was very nearly miraculous....and qualifies as a breakthrough for tomato lovers who have found themselves allergic to nightshades!  
 
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Location: 7b desert southern Idaho
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I’m expecting beet salsa next!
 
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