Mesquite Pod Flour
Until 1890, pods from the Mesquite tree produced one of the most valued foods, wild or cultivated, in the Southwestern deserts of North America. The honey mesquite, also known as the velvet mesquite, is a nitrogen-fixing legume tree that produces pods rich in protein and sweet galactomannin?a gum-based sugar. Traditionally, the pods were toasted over hot coals at midday and then ground into a fine flour with grinding sticks and stones. Today, the pods are still hand-roasted and dried, but are currently ground using a hammer mill.
Mesquite pod flour's sweet, smoky flavor is a valued part of the culinary traditions of the Pima, Tohono O'odham, Seri, Apache, Cocopah, Maricopa and other American Indian tribes. Currently, the Tohono O'odham and Seri people, as well as Sonoran Hispanics in Arizona are employed in the survival of this cherished flour.
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