Monthly Archives: October 2013

Welcome to Savor the Southwest ! Savoring Honeycomb

Blog Post # 1

This is Tia Linda, one of several “food friends” who will be collaborating on this blog, and the lucky soul who gets to welcome you to Savor the Southwest, a blog Savoring the wild plants, herbs, and animals that grow here in the Southwest.  The focus for my part of the blog is to converse with you about the animals and insects that we live among.  You might already be raising animals, or may flirting with the idea.  Some of my posts may be “notes from the hive”. Some will come from the corrals;  some from the coops. And all will have an offering of some relevant food or recipe.

This week we greet Halloween,  Dia de los Muertos, and less well known, from the Celts Countries, Samhain.   Samhain  means the “End of Summer” and is considered the years third and final harvest. It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st.  Originally a “Feast of the Dead” it was celebrated by leaving food offerings on altars and lighting candles. Extra chairs were set out as an invite to the spirits of loved ones to come home while the veil between worlds thinned.   Symbols at Samhain included apples, Jack-o-lanterns, and gourds, among others.

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“Apis Mellifera Becomes Apis Calavera”  (a quilt by me).  On display at Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery here in Tucson; proceeds will be split equally between Raices (to support one of our best local art venues) and Xerces Society (for quality bee research and protection)

Dia de los Muertos, whose roots are traced back to an Aztec Festival, is celebrated throughout modern Mexico as well as the Southwest.  Favorite foods and beverages of departed loved ones are placed at private alters or gravesides. In the spirit of both Dia de los Muertos and Samhain (and Asian and Afirican cultures have similar rituals)  my offering this year extends beyond the human family to the insect world. Because of my love of bees, and because they are so crucial to our food supply, I am Remembering the vast number of honeybees colonies that have died in the past few years of Colony Collapse Disorder. By setting out honeycomb at my beehive alter, I am both welcoming them home and acknowledging their place – very significant place – in the interconnectedness of all things.

Image                                             So the first food offering to you from this blog is:  Honeycomb.  I offer it both as a food of interest,  as well as to the departed bees that may visit my alter. If you have never eaten honey straight from the honeycomb,  you have a real treat in store.  It is the purest form of honey that we can eat. It is not processed by human hands at all. In fact, the last “hands” to touch it were those of the worker bees, as they placed the wax capping over hexagonal cells holding the honey.

What do you do with the wax? You can swallow it;it will pass right through your system. Or just spit it out. Some people like to chew it like gum. Find a local beekeeper and taste honey from the plants/trees that live in your environment. Mainstream markets will be unlikely to have comb honey, so visit your farmers markets and local health food stores. And consider getting to know the local beekeepers around you.  More than that,  consider becoming a beekeeper yourself!  It will  transform you from being “just” a food consumer, into being a food producer – even if you keep just one hive. Small scale beekeepers play a powerful role these days … but that is for a future post!

Bye for now.

Categories: Beekeeping, Gardening, Southwest Food, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

New Blog, New Voices

Welcome to our new shared blog of the food and plants of the Southwest.  We are a group of friends who for years,  have been learning from each other. Now we are going to extend our little community and share with you the knowledge and recipes we have been sharing with each other.  We all come to this subject with different personalities. Some of us are practical and straight-forward, others more philosophical. We’ll write in rotation.  But it won’t be just about us.  There are so many other people doing interesting work in local and wild foods, we hope to interview some of them along the way.  Occasionally we’ll ask someone to do a guest post.

We always invite your comments as we want to make this a community conversation.  Whenever I’m with a group of  Southwest foodies, I come away with something new, something that makes me go, “Wow, what a great idea. I never knew that.”  So share with us and the other readers your new ideas for edible wild plants or local animal foods.

Our first post that will arrive in a few days is about bees.

Here’s who we are:

Carolyn Niethammer

Carolyn Niethamm

Carolyn Niethammer writes about Southwest cuisine and edible wild plants of the Southwest. She is happiest when working in her flower or vegetable gardens, out on the desert gathering wild foods, or devising new recipes for the plants she has gathered.  Her five cookbooks range from the way Native Americans cooked wild plants to a collection of recipes devised by the Southwest’s top restaurant and resort chefs for incorporating the area’s iconic ingredients in delicious dishes.

Aunt Linda

Tia Linda (design by Jennifer Parker Designs all rights reserved)

 

Tia Linda is both an urban and a rural food producer. She ranches in the Sierra Madres foothills in Northern Mexico. She also keeps honeybees and fosters native bee habitat in the urban Southwest. She enjoys raising poultry, with a special fondness for heirloom breeds. She sees herself as an extension of the hives, flocks, and herds that she lives among.

Martha Burgess

Martha Burgess

Mentored by Tohono O’odham Elders, Martha Ames Burgess came into ethnobotany from the inside out, learning how to harvest, prepare, store, and eat many Sonoran Desert edibles, and to make use of desert plant “first aid”.  With O’odham farmers and Native Seeds/SEARCH cofounders, she was taught desert gardening with native heirlooms.  Her mission is to pass along this wildcrafting and gardening knowledge so that new Baja Arizona dwellers may better appreciate and adapt to our desert home, especially in these times of climate change.  She uses on-site outdoor teaching, poetry and art for sharing the awareness.

JAS avatarJacqueline Soule has been writing about plants in the Southwest since the 1980’s, and growing and using them since even before that.  An award-winning garden writer, she is delighted to be the instigator of this venture.  She welcomes you to her free lectures at the Pima County Libraries.

Categories: Beekeeping, Cooking, Gardening, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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