Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eating Mesquite

The mesquite is a small leguminous tree that grows throughout the American Southwest.  It blooms early in the year and then, late in the year, it grows long beans that eventually drop to the ground.  Unlike the beans we typically eat, these beans stay in their pod which does not dry out and release the beans but stays whole and keeps the beans locked inside.
 Mesquite beans on the ground under the mesquite tree.  In no time at all, you can collect enough for a meal. I did collect a bunch but made no attempt to eat them until I got home.
 The collection site right behind our breakfast table.  The picture was taken in January and all the beans were on the ground.

 Back home, I tossed a bunch of the beans in a high power blender.
The ground up beans looked like this.  I sifted them through a colander.

The sifted meal looked like this.  The meal is a combination of the ground up hull and the insides of the beans.

 The shell of the bean itself resists grinding and gets tossed.
Animals on the other hand eat the whole thing, hull and bean, possibly doing some chewing and run it through their digestive tract and deposit the hulls on the ground.
The next step is to do something with the meal.  You can get recipes online or you can just improvise.  The mesquite meal is sweet with just a hint of sour.  You can make a rue with it and add it to soup or parch it in a pan and use it as a thickener for stews as you would any flour.  Unlike flower, it does have a distinctive taste, however which you may or may not like, mostly it is a little sour and sweet and you may need to experiment until you find where to put it into your food regimen.

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