Posts Tagged ‘edible’

I been studying desert trees because The Arizona Desert Botanical Garden is going to have their spring sale on March 18 and 19th, and I want to know what I should get to add to the backyard.

The Velvet Mesquite is the best type of mesquite tree to plant.

Pick the bean (or pod) from June through early August.  There is a tight window because you want the bean to be dry (it should come off the tree easily) but before the monsoons hit.

Milling is a process to pulverize the bean into a protein rick powder similar to flour.   The husks is where the flavor is and the protein is in the hard seed.  Milling is done in fall.  It takes that long for the moisture to get out of the pods.  Store in a manner that the Bruchid beetles inside the pods can hatch and escape.  The Bruchid beetle is harmless.

Desert Harvesters is a great site about harvesting food from Desert trees.

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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.