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Have you gotten sick of hearing your friends constantly talk about hummus? Or are you a long-time hummus fan that doesn’t know as much about their favorite food as you thought? Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Many people don’t really understand this fantastic dip and don’t take the time to appreciate its many benefits better. This issue is a genuine concern that may trigger bad buying decisions.
As a result, it is crucial to understand as much about hummus as possible. We’ll break down the nature of this dip, what kinds of foods go well with it, whether it is safe for your pets, and much more. By the time you’re done reading, you can tell your hummus-obsessed friends a thing or two! Or you can even join up with them in what has long since passed a dietary craze into a true meal staple for many.
What is Hummus?
Hummus is a creamy spread that is common in various Middle Eastern and North African countries. It originated here as a way of adding a bit of kick or taste to different high-quality dishes. Over the years, it has become one of the most commonly enjoyed “ethnic” dishes globally. Our experts report that nearly 20 million homes across the United States regularly enjoy high-quality hummus. That’s a significant number of people, particularly for a food that has been labeled “ethnic.”
Hummus is one of those foods that have been eaten for nearly as long as people have been on the planet. References to hummus occur as early as the 13th century in Egypt. While the recipe has changed heavily since then, it has remained a consistently enjoyed dish for many homes. In addition, it provides a surprisingly diverse array of uses, many of which we’ll talk about in a later section in this article. In this way, you’ll be able to utilize your hummus for just about every meal: even breakfast!
The primary ingredient in hummus is ground chickpeas, though many other items go into a standard hummus dish. In the next section, we’ll break down the immediate production process used to make hummus. You can even adapt these methods to make hummus at home. Doing so may provide you with the healthiest option, one that minimizes the risk of spoilage or unsafe ingredients and other elements. It also helps you save money by cutting back on manufacturing overhead costs.
How Is It Made?
Hummus is an incredibly easy foodstuff to make. That’s probably why it is available from so many manufacturers (of varying qualities). It also explains why it’s been such a popular food option for so many years. Simply put, it is the kind of thing that takes almost no time to make and only a handful of ingredients to finish. As a result, it is something that you can make at home without a lot of difficulty or strain. The most common elements that you’ll need when making hummus include:
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Garlic (May Be Optional)
Once all of these ingredients are assembled, they are ground up and stirred into a simple paste. Industrial-strength grinders provide this grinding power for manufactured hummus. They typically produce high volumes of this food and carefully refrigerate it before shipping. As you’ll find out later, hummus does require refrigeration and various preservation tips to keep it as fresh as possible. You’ll later learn how to preserve your hummus and how long it stays good after opening.
You can also make hummus using the same basic steps at home. You’ll obviously make it on a much smaller scale than a manufacturer. However, you can place all of these ingredients (and others, like red pepper) into a grinder and blend all of them together. This step helps to produce high-quality hummus that you can serve immediately or save for later. Before doing that, though, it’s essential to know how hummus tastes. If you’ve never had it before, its taste may be a surprise to you.
What are the Health Benefits of Hummus?
Hummus has long been considered something of a superfood by many different experts. This is because its ingredients are all very healthy and mix well into just about any recipe. Let’s break down a few of the most common health benefits of this food to give you an idea of why you may enjoy it, including how it:
- Provides a great source of protein, particularly fat-free plant-based varieties
- Reduces inflammation and helps keep your body healthier
- May combat some types of diseases
- Improves digestion and stomach health issues
- Boosts your overall bone and heart health
- Enhances your level of energy
- Contains a surprisingly rich supply of vitamins and minerals
The ingredients in hummus have high levels of protein, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorous, B vitamins, vitamin C, antioxidants, copper, magnesium, zinc, calcium, selenium, and much more. When it comes to dips and spreads, almost none are as healthy as hummus. That’s why so many people are integrating it into their diet on a regular basis.
What Does Hummus Taste Like?
Do you dislike chickpeas? We know that they’re not to all tastes, even if they’re something of a superfood. Well, we have good news for you: hummus tastes almost nothing like chickpeas! This is because the peas serve as a base to which you add the lemon, garlic, red peppers, tahini, and other ingredients. As a result, the overall taste is nothing like you might expect based on the ingredients.
In fact, it is hard to describe the overall flavor of hummus without just trying it. Some compare it to an exceptionally healthy and creamy mayonnaise. Others praise its garlicky textures and its potent aftertaste. It isn’t incredibly sweet: instead, think of it more as a savory addition to your diet.
If you’re not a fan of chickpea, don’t worry because hummus tastes nothing like it. While it serves as the base of the dish, its flavor changes because of the other elements added to it. Also, note that your flavor will vary based on what ingredients you use. For example, garlic-rich hummus has a different texture and overall feel than red pepper hummus, so pay attention to these elements before making a purchase.
Is Hummus Pet-Friendly?
Dogs and cats typically don’t enjoy the flavor and textures of hummus. However, some adventurous dogs may like the garlic smell and may even enjoy honey hummus’s sweetness. Unfortunately, you should probably keep your dog away from hummus. Even though the chickpea base is safe for dogs, hummus may contain garlic, a very toxic food item for dogs, and should be avoided.
The same concerns hold true for cats as well. Garlic, onions, and even chickpeas are not suited to a cat’s diet: they can even be toxic in high amounts. A cat’s digestive system is designed for protein-rich foods, not fiber, and may struggle with vegetable-based foods as a result. Thankfully, most meat-hungry cats will turn their nose up at hummus without a second sniff. Keep out of range of those rare fat cats who love everything.
How Long Does It Stay Good?
Hummus can typically last a reasonably long time when it is properly stored. For example, you can usually keep hummus on a kitchen counter for up to four hours before you probably need to throw it away. But, of course, you shouldn’t keep any perishable food outside of a refrigerator that long in general. Instead, you should put it in the fridge after opening it and keep it in that cooled atmosphere for as long as possible when not in use.
As for storage in the fridge, that all depends on a few factors. First of all, if you made the hummus at home, it can probably be cooled for 3-4 days without experiencing significant quality loss. After that, you may need to toss it. That’s why it is such a good idea to cook small portions of hummus and only what you need. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to throw out significant parts of this food.
What about store-bought hummus? Usually, that can last at least a week in the fridge before it starts going bad. Some may stretch this out to two weeks or even longer. The hummus may not lose much of its flavor during this 2-3 week period. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t going bad. You may find yourself experiencing stomach problems or even food poisoning if you eat hummus that’s been in the fridge past one week.
It’s usually pretty easy to see if your hummus has gone sour on you. Give it the old sniff test when you take it out of the fridge. If it smells awful, you probably need to throw it away. Even if it seems a bit moldy or stale, it is probably best to toss it to avoid getting sick. And if you see any mold, the game is over: throw away your hummus, or you’ll end up in a pretty tricky situation.
How Should I Store Hummus?
If you plan on storing hummus longer than a week (such as if you make a large batch of homemade hummus), you should freeze it to keep it safe. This process requires finding freezer-safe boxes and putting some olive oil on top of the hummus to keep it safe for several months. In this way, you can save it for gifts at Christmas or birthdays or take it out for personal use later.
How long should you keep your hummus in a freezer? Typically, it stores well for around four months. After that, it starts to lose much of its nutrients and its oil content. Taking hummus out of a freezer is often disappointing: you’re likely to find that it needs a little more olive oil before serving. Add as much olive oil as you need to increase its texture: too much may thin it out.
Are There Any Dangers of Eating Hummus?
Hummus is a pretty safe food to eat and doesn’t have many risks. However, some people may be at risk of allergic reaction to chickpeas or other ingredients in hummus. If you know you are allergic to any of these items, you should avoid hummus. If you aren’t sure, you may need an allergy test to ensure that you don’t experience any nasty and unexpected side effects.
That said, some people may also have irritable bowel syndrome, a disease that can cause severe bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Chickpeas and other fiber-rich food may trigger this condition and cause a broad range of symptoms. If you have this disease, it might be necessary to consider cutting back on hummus seriously. Otherwise, you might end up worsening your condition.
It is also essential to know that hummus is not a true superfood or a calorie-negative item. What we mean is that you’ll get 4-5 grams of unsaturated fats and around 50-70 calories per two-tablespoon serving of hummus. So, while it is a healthier alternative to many sandwich spreads, dips, and salad dressing, it could impact your overall health if you overeat it. So be safe and eat only as much as your dietitian suggests.
What Foods Go Best With Hummus?
There are so many different ways that you can use hummus. The sheer varieties are likely to make your head spin! So we compiled a list of some of the most popular ways to enjoy hummus. We’ve met people from around the world who will use hummus for:
- Snack Foods – Many people love eating hummus with bread, chips, pita slices of bread, and crackers. This option is good if you like a rich array of flavors and want to make your snacks healthier. Even better, hummus makes it less likely that you’ll overeat by filling you up faster.
- Sandwiches and Wraps – Have you ever tried spreading hummus on bread to make a delicious sandwich? You can also apply it on wraps to produce a surprisingly rich array of flavors. Most hummus goes well with meat, whole-grain bread, lettuce, and other vegetables.
- Fruits and Veggies – Mix hummus on celery, peas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, radishes, asparagus, and other vegetables to produce a rich array of flavors. You may also enjoy dates, apples, and strawberries with hummus. Experiment a little to find a taste variety that makes sense for you.
- Salad Topping – If you’re bored with ranch or balsamic vinaigrette on your sandwiches, try hummus instead! Mix it with a bit of lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil to thin it out and make it an easy-to-spread additive to any salad. You might never have to buy dressing again!
- Taco Spreads – Do you love tacos but want to change up your everyday recipe? Layer your taco shells (either hard or soft) with hummus to get great results here. You can put your meat and other ingredients right on the hummus to get the blend of flavors that you want and deserve for your tacos.
Other unique uses for hummus include a pasta sauce, a topping for brownies, spice up your tofu, add a little touch of class to your eggs, make creamy mashed potatoes, or increase your soup flavor. Experiment with a few different options to find those that make the most sense for you. We promise you won’t regret it.
Where Can I Buy Hummus?
Hummus is a straightforward food to find in your typical grocery store. You can find it in shops like Walmart, Target, Kroger, or other local grocery shops. You don’t have to go to a specialized Middle Eastern shop to find great hummus. That said, it might be worth trying this option at least once. There’s nothing quite like a fresh batch of homemade hummus to make you a fan for life!
You can also set up regular deliveries of hummus from online shops, such as Amazon or specialized food stores. This option is a good choice if you go through a lot of hummus and want to keep yourself stocked. You can set up schedules for weekly or even monthly delivery. Just make sure that you don’t add more hummus to your diet than you can reasonably eat before it goes bad on you.
Does It Meet Various Food Guidelines?
Do you follow a lifestyle that restricts the types of foods you can eat? For example, Jewish and Muslim individuals have strict food guidelines that they must follow. Others (such as vegans) make food lifestyle changes based on moral and ethical choices. Here’s where hummus stands among these guidelines:
- Is Hummus Vegan? – Most of the time, hummus is a very vegan-friendly dish. Like chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice, most of the ingredients are all well within vegan guidelines. However, you may find some that use palm oil, vitamin D3 supplements, Xanthan gum, or honey. These ingredients are not vegan. Check the packaging to ensure that you don’t buy hummus with these items if you are vegan.
- Is Hummus Gluten-Free? – Thankfully, you’ll find that most types of hummus are entirely gluten-free. Options like basil pesto, lemon twist, Jalapeno, red pepper, and garlic hummus lack gluten. However, you may find that some hummus brands add gluten elements, like bread crumbs. So pay attention to the packaging: it should say “gluten-free” somewhere.
- Is Hummus Kosher? – There’s some debate about whether or not hummus is considered kosher. You’ll find that most agree that a majority of hummus is perfectly kosher. However, some have argued that sesame seeds may present a problem if roasted and shelled by non-Jewish people. This situation makes hummus a tough choice for those who follow a Kosher lifestyle.
- Is Hummus Halal? – Hummus is well within the Halal guidelines and is often shared throughout many Muslim communities. Remember: the areas from which hummus originated were very heavily Muslim. For many in the area, hummus is a staple food. It does not violate any of the Halal guidelines set forth by the Koran and is typically considered safe to eat for followers of Islam laws.
- Is Hummus Safe for Lent? – Lent restrictions usually restrict you from overeating and prevent you from eating meat on certain days of the week. For example, you typically cannot eat meat on Fridays, though some stricter Catholics may eat no animal-based products on that day. Thankfully, hummus typically has no animal-based ingredients, though some may balk at honey in this case.
As hummus is mostly a vegetable-based food, it easily qualifies for most of these restrictions. That said, it might be worth talking to your religious leaders if you feel uncomfortable eating hummus. They can let you know if it is okay or advise you to reconsider this dietary change seriously.
Finding Delicious Hummus Today
If you’re interested in expanding your diet and want to try hummus, you’re in luck! This food is typically available in many shops and is usually relatively inexpensive. In addition, you can buy a myriad of different varieties, including garlic and hot pepper, that may be right for your needs. Pay attention to these factors to ensure that you find an option that makes the most sense for your taste profile.
Make sure to get tested for any hummus allergies before you change your diet, though. Most of the ingredients, as mentioned, have minimal allergic potential. However, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t end up suffering from an allergy anyway. Tracking this risk helps minimize your potential complications and ensures you have a healthy and happy diet of safe foods.