That’s right, you might recognize the mesquite name for your favorite barbeque products, but this little tree ain’t just for barbeque! It’s a leguminous plant, fixing much-needed nitrogen into desert soils, and providing delicious pods. It’s similar to the carob in that it’s really the sweet flesh surrounding the seeds that you’re after. That said, you can grind the whole pods with seeds and all for a delicious and healthy flour. Pictured above are 3 native mesquites to the Sonoran desert; on the left are the pods of honey mesquite (Prosopsis glandulosa), in the center screwbean mesquite (Prosopsis pubescens), and on the right are the velvet mesquite pods (Prosopsis velutina).
This video highlights Brad Lancaster’s work as a master mesquite harvester, and author of 2 volumes of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands. Brad is an amazing guy, permaculture enthusiast, and great educator in the Tucson area. He helps run Desert Harvesters, a grassroots organization which promotes, celebrates, and enhances, local food security and production by encouraging the planting of indigenous, food-bearing shade trees. They educate the public on how to harvest and process mesquite pods, and hold mesquite milling events. Be sure to check out the calendar of events on their website www.desertharvesters.org… I’d love to make it for their 5th Annual Mesquite Milling Fiesta and Mesquite Pancake Breakfast on November 17th!