April is the time of year for roasting agave for a multiple of purposes. The photo below shows a field of them not yet ready for harvest at the Mission Garden where we attending an event to highlight the long history of roasting agave.
The harvesting involves pulling the entire plant and cutting off the leaves.
Once you have the hearts separated from the leaves all of the pieces are placed into a pit, covered with layers of agave pieces, burlap and finally dirt and roasted for 48 hours. The burlap keeps the agave clean while it roasts.
We arrived not long before it was time to open the pit. This person decided to test how warm the ground felt.
Time to open it up!
There were multiple layers of agave plants, along with burlap and other coverings. First to come out were the leaves.
The roasting gives the leaves a distinctive smell and taste.
Once the leaves were removed it revealed the layer of burlap overtop the hearts in the bottom of the pit.
At last, the roasted agave hearts.
While a variety of products, both alcoholic and non alcoholic, can be made from the hearts, you can chew the pieces for a somewhat sweet taste.
In addition to food and drink products, some people use the agave stalks to make amazing art pieces, including this fiddle.
Agave has a long history in this part of the world, providing food, sweets and drink from the time of the Hohokam.