Posts Tagged ‘edible cactus’

I checked out the video Stay alive! a guide to survival in mountainous areas from my local library.

Random comments after watching:

  • According to the host, Preston Westmoreland, if you have ever heard the idea that you could add whiskey to water to clean the water than that is not true.  Ummmmm, I have never heard that, in fact if one googles adding whiskey to water what one discovers is that most feel this is a waste of good whiskey.
  • The video visits with Peter Bigfoot, which is awesome because I really like that guy.  Bigfoot covers the edible plants of the desert.

July is the best time to eat Saguaro fruit.

  • Peter also eats the hedgehog, he mentions it is better with salt,  hey that’s what I saidThe hedgehog cactus might be a quarter of its size in summer.
  • Some plants are poisonous for some of the year and then not poisonous for other parts of the year.  Great.
  • 90% of prickly pear plants are poisonous, yikes, only eat the fruit, that was the next plant I was going to try so I am glad I watched the video first.
  • Mesquite is the “mother tree” of the desert.  He does not elaborate on why it is the mother tree.
  • To clean water use 2 drops bleach per quart.
  • If one ever needs to make a fire to signal for help while stranded in the desert, the black tubing in your engine makes for good black smoke.
  • Thank god tube socks are out of fashion.

FebRandom 027

Above:  A recent shot taken of the hedgehog.

The hedgehog cactus I ate about a month ago seems to be doing fine.  However, several people have told me the cactus I ate had yellow needles not because it was the wrong cactus, but because I ate one covered in coyote pee.

Update: The cactus seems fine. I went back the next day, and then a week later. I plan to go again this weekend. The plant before looked like it was drying from that branch, but the root looked firm. The overall plant has about 9 spears. At this point, I suspect it will be fine.

I also learned that the hedgehog I ate had yellow needles because of coyote pee and not because I ate the wrong plant.

The main goal of this weekend is to start learning how to gather useful plants in the desert. I still have trouble identifying a Mesquite tree from a Palo Verde from a Juniper tree; despite having lived in Phoenix for 8 years.

Here is my plan of how to start learning this stuff. First, last weekend I went to the Arizona Desert Botanical Garden for preliminary research. The one part I really liked was their “Plants and People of the Sonora Desert” path. They had the plants labeled along with a word of two of what the practical uses was of each. I snapped off some shots , but I think I need to return to better photograph and study the plants.

arizona desert botanical garden
Katie at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Step two will be to revisit my edible foods manual I made a couple of years ago when taking a class at the Reevis Mountain School of self-reliance in the Superstition Mountains of AZ. Peter Bigfoot, our awesome instructor, led us as we wandered around his property while we gathered plants , taped them into our book and then took notes.

Peter Bigfoot eating poison ivy

Step three, wander into the desert with my photos from the Botanical Gardern and my old manual and see what I find.