Posts Tagged With: cholla buds

Cholla Crepes with Hollandaise and Mulberry Compote Yogurt Crepes

 

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Spring in Tucson means cholla buds and mulberries! Amy here with two of our perennial favorites, wrapped in crepes.

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A found a budding Pencil Cholla Cactus in a friend’s yard, and I could pick in exchange for a harvesting lesson. See Tia Marta’s Cholla bud post to learn how to collect and process this favorite desert food. This wasn’t a stellar year in the wild, so I was glad to harvest from a few plants thriving with a bit of care. Pencil chollas, hard to find in the wild, have few spines for the size of the bud and fall off easily when brushed.

Mulberries are another cultivated cousin of a wild desert riparian food, and my grandfather planed a beautiful tree many years ago that produces enough fruit for birds, dogs and people, too.

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I cooked a bowlful of mulberries with a splash of rum and a squeeze of lemon. I added a bit of water while cooking, just to keep it from sticking.

Brainstorming how to show off these little treasures, I remembered crepes! My mom and aunt taught my family to make crepes with a special electric skillet designed to dunk into a wide shallow bowl of batter, making a delicate skin and browning it delicately.

Lacking the very wide, very shallow bowl and the electric crepe maker, I have been making them lately on a cast iron griddle. Start by whirling one cup flour (I used half whole wheat and half all purpose), one and a half cups half and half (milk or milk substitute works fine), 3 tablespoons butter melted completely (or oil), four eggs, and a dash of salt in the blender. Transfer to a quart jar or measuring cup for easy pouring.

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Heat a cast iron pan to medium, swirl the pan before the very first crepe with a small pat of butter, and take a relaxing breath. With one hand, pour batter on the griddle while quickly rotating the pan until the batter reaches the pan’s edges. Hopefully most of the batter is set by then, but if not, just use a little less batter next time and cook this crepe a little longer. If the batter gets too thick, thin with water so it is easier to swirl on the griddle.

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When the edges are papery and the bottom spotted with brown, flip the crepe with your fingertips and brown briefly on the other side.

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Stack the cooked crepes on a plate directly on top of each other. This batch of batter made about a dozen for me.

Cholla Bud in Crepes with Hollandaise

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Boil the de-spined cholla buds in water for 10 minutes, then drain. Heat a bit of olive oil, add a clove of minced garlic, a dash of salt and the buds.

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To make hollandaise, put one egg yolk, a tablespoon butter, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt in a double boiler. Whisk until creamy, adding a splash of hot water if necessary to thin the sauce. Incorporate one more tablespoon of butter and keep warm. The sauce can easily be doubled or quadrupled as necessary. Assemble, roll and enjoy!

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For Mulberry Crepes, you can add a pinch of sugar to the batter if you want. Spread a hot crepe with mulberry compote and a spoon of plain yogurt.

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Fold in quarters and garnish with pansies.

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Enjoy the last days of spring, and I’ll be back in summer. Love, Amy

 

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Categories: Cooking, Edible Landscape Plant, Sonoran Native, Southwest Food, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everybody Cooks Desert Wild Plants

It’s Carolyn Niethammer with you this April Friday, my favorite time of year when the Sonoran Desert is bursting with life. The rains weren’t as heavy as El Niño had promised, but there was enough moisture so that our arid-adapted plants could produce a colorful and abundant spring. When I was a young reporter for the Arizona Daily Star we used to have a feature called “Everybody Cooks.” I loved going out into the community and talking to good cooks from all walks of life — Mexican nanas, musicians, business owners, Jewish homemakers — about what they made for holidays and everyday family meals. I recalled those good times earlier this month at the Native Seeds/SEARCH Arid Abundance Potluck.

People arrived at the Arid Abundance Potluck with so many creative uses of the delicacies of a Sonoran desert spring that I just had to document the event.

Chad Borseth shows off his cholla bud appetizer.

Chad Borseth shows off his cholla bud appetizer.

Chad Borseth, the manager of the NS/S retail store, started us out with a cholla bud appetizer. There’s an old joke about how a cook made chicken soup in 1880. It starts: first you catch the chicken. This is sort of like that. You do have to harvest, clean (meaning remove the thorns) and dry the cholla buds. Or you can go the the NS/S store and buy some already cleaned and dried. Chad boiled the dried cholla buds for about 45 minutes, drained them and then chilled them in white balsamic vinegar overnight. When he was ready to serve them at the potluck he cut  each of them in half and arranged them on a plate and drizzled them with prickly pear syrup. Toothpicks are handy for picking up the delicious little morsels.

 

 

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Nancy Reid serves up  her rich and delicious  Green Chile-Cholla Bud Quiche

Nancy Reid, a retail associate at the NS/S store,  brought a green chile and cholla bud quiche that she had modified from a recipe in a wonderful but out-of-print NS/S cookbook. She began by melting a tablespoon of butter in the bottom of an 8-inch round pan. In a bowl, she beat 4 eggs. Then she added 3/4 cup cooked cholla buds, 3/4 cup chopped green chiles, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 2 cups of shredded colby/jack cheese, and a little salt. It went in the oven at 325 degrees F. for 40 minutes.

 

 

 

Laura Neff with her salsa.

Laura Neff , NS/S retail associate, with her salsa.

 

 

What’s a southwestern meal without salsa? Laura Neff’s version includes 1/2 cup dried cholla buds boiled for 45 minutes and drained, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1-2 finely minced jalapenos, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. She combined everything except the cholla buds in a food processor. The cholla buds were chopped by hand and added  at the end.

 

 

 

My friend Connie Lauth wasn’t at the potluck but she made this gorgeous quiche recently for company. Connie lives on the desert at the very end of a road into the Tucson Mountains. While Chad and Laura used dried and reconstituted cholla buds, Connie just walked out her door and picked some fresh ones. She used nopalitos from Food City but by now there are plenty of fresh, new-growth prickly pear pads ready for harvest.

Nopalito-Cholla Bud Quiche

Connie’s Nopalito-Cholla Bud Quiche

Here’s Connie’s recipe:

Connie’s Desert Pie

1 cup of cholla buds

1 cup of nopalitos

½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

4 large eggs

1/2 cup milk,

1 ½ teaspoons pico de gallo seasoning

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro

1 frozen deep dish pie shell

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Dethorn cholla buds by holding them with tongs and burning them off over a gas stove.. Rinse. Microwave in a covered dish on high for 4 minutes.

Cut gathered or purchased nopalitos into 1/4-inch dice. Microwave with red bell peppers for about 4 minutes.  In a bowl, beat eggs and milk, add seasonings.  Layer egg mixture with vegetables and cheese in the pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees about 40 minutes until a knife inserted in center comes out clean

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If  you are inspired to try your hand at more desert gathering and cooking, my book Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicous Recipes for Desert Plants can be your guide to 23 easily recognized, gathered and cooked  desert edibles.  If you want to harvest some nopales (prickly pear pads), you can find lots of recipes in The Prickly Pear Cookbook. Both books  are available in the Native Seeds/SEARCH retail store at 3061  N. Campbell or on their website. The books are also available from Amazon and B&N.

 

Categories: Cooking, Sonoran Native, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Glorious Diversity–A Palette of Heirloom Legumes

The desert this spring is exploding with color, its rainbow shades reminding us of the amazing diversity of life, of species, of varieties of plants in this rich Sonoran Desert! Cholla flowers themselves are a veritable palette of genetic diversity within a species and between species.

Tia Marta here to talk about the rich diversity of beans selected and cultivated over the centuries by smart Native farmers in what is now the southwest borderlands…..

Tom's Mix is a rainbow of color, flavor, nutrition, and genetic adaptations to the desert Southwest! (MABurgess photo)

Tom’s Mix is a rainbow of color, flavor, nutrition, and genetic adaptations to the desert Southwest! (MABurgess photo)

In the genetic treasure trove of the NativeSeeds/SEARCH Seed Bank, there are hundreds of varieties and landraces of common bean, runner bean, and limas that can dazzle both our eyes, tastebuds–and our souls. Their colors, theirs shapes, sizes, sculpture are miniature works of art. And inside each little bean, each variety carries a complex of genes shaped over time to fit a specific local rainfall regime, soil, daylength, temperature range, and human habits. Their genetic potential may provide us some nutritional lifeboats into the uncharted waters of climate change.  (We are in this together.)

Delectable Tom's Mix available online at NativeSeeds.org and FlordeMayoArts.com.

Delectable Tom’s Mix available online at NativeSeeds.org and FlordeMayoArts.com.

Long ago, my gardening pal and mentor Tom Swain “invented” a mix of 14 different beautiful Southwestern heirloom beans garnered from the NativeSeeds/SEARCH collection. Of course we had to call it “Tom’s Mix” (ok–“oldsters” get it). It is the most beautiful set of genetic as well as flavor jewels—truly a treasure to behold and to eat.

Many people at our Flor de Mayo booth at Sunday St Phillips Farmers Market have asked how to identify each bean in the mix. To sort them, ID each variety, and come to know them is a fun challenge.  I’d like to create a game for kids (and adults) to teach taxonomy in a cool way using them.

 

 

So, head for the NativeSeeds store or Sunday’s St Phillips market, pick up a bag of Tom’s Mix, and take the BEAN CHALLENGE!

Herewith is your KEY to unlocking some the of mystery beans of our beautiful desert region.  (They each carry stories with them–come learn more from Tia Marta at the Sunday market… see, buy, taste each beautiful bean, see which one is cooking in the solar oven, and press her to finish her bean book!)  Until then, you can feast on these gorgeous visual hints—first a feast for the eye, later for the palette–with this photographic key to the makings of Tom’s Mix:

Ed's perfect pecan pie made with Zuni beans--a healthy dessert!.

Ed’s perfect pecan pie made with Zuni beans–a healthy dessert!.

“Zuni Gold” (aka “Four Corners Gold”) was originally from the Native Zuni people of NW New Mexico, a flavor gift to the world.

“Zuni Gold” (aka “Four Corners Gold”) was originally from the Native Zuni people of NW New Mexico, a flavor gift to the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Yellow-eye bean" (not related to black-eye pea) similar to Zuni Gold but with a distinctively different flavor.  It was the original Boston baked bean before coming west.  So rare it is not often used in the mix.

“Yellow-eye bean” (not related to black-eye pea) similar to Zuni Gold but with a distinctively different flavor. It was the original Boston baked bean before coming west. So rare it is not often used in the mix.

 

“Scarlet Runner” is a vining bean with brilliant red flowers that attract hummingbirds.  It is a large purplish speckled bean not to be confused with lima.

“Scarlet Runner” is a vining bean with brilliant red flowers that attract hummingbirds. It is a large purplish speckled bean not to be confused with lima. (MABurgess photo)

Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are larger than so-called “common” beans (Phaseolus vulgaris–an insulting name for such wonderful food plants!)  Runner beans, as the name implies, are climbers as compared with bush-beans.  Their flowers are bigger and they bear huge pods.  Runner beans make a great addition to soups and stews.

Related to scarlet runner is “Aztec White Runner” or “Bordal” (aka “Mortgage Lifter”) is another vining bean with a big white flower.  It is large, plump and a little sweet.

Related to scarlet runner is “Aztec White Runner” or “Bordal” (aka “Mortgage Lifter”) is another vining bean with a big white flower. It is large, plump and a little sweet.  (MABurgess photo)

 

“Yellow Indian Woman” is the only bean in the mix not from the SW.  As legend has it, Swedes brought this bean to Native people of the northern plains.

“Yellow Indian Woman” is the only bean in the mix not from the SW. As legend has it, Swedes brought this bean to Native people of the northern plains.

“Flor de Mayo”  (Mayflower) is a favorite of traditional people from Chihuahua and Texas to southern Sonora.

“Flor de Mayo” (Mayflower) is a favorite of traditional people from Chihuahua and Texas to southern Sonora.

“Bolita” or “little bullet” is a champion of flavor and makes a delish burrito or refried bean.

“Bolita” or “little bullet” is a champion of flavor and makes a delish burrito or refried bean.

 

 

 

These three beans are of similar shape and color–though different in flavors.  It is neat to try them separately, to enjoy their individual attributes.  Watch for announcements when Native Seeds/SEARCH sponsors its Great Bean Tasting Events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Moon Bean” (also known in Colorado as “pinkeye bean”)  is a mild, tasty, versatile bean.

“Moon Bean” (also known in Colorado as “pinkeye bean”) is a mild, tasty, versatile bean.

In Tucson our culinary hero Chef Janos Wilder of the Downtown Kitchen has created the most delectable casserole using Moon Beans, chicken, and other surprise veggies.  Try this one out also in marinated salads with white Sonora wheat berries.

“Maicoba”  is named for the Pima Bajo village in Sonora where it originated.  This yellow bean goes by many monikers—sulfur bean, azufrado, canario, peruano.

“Maicoba” is named for the Pima Bajo village in Sonora where it originated. This yellow bean goes by many monikers—sulfur bean, azufrado, canario, peruano.

The versatile Maicoba makes a fabulous refried bean, a great dip, or burrito.

“Cranberry bean” refers to the flecks and strips of dark maroon or cranberry coloration on beige, not to its flavor.

“Cranberry bean” refers to the flecks and strips of dark maroon or cranberry coloration on beige, not to its flavor.

You will often see Italian recipes calling for cranberry bean.  This year’s crop of cranberry was for some weather reason a bust; let’s hope that next year it comes back strong again.  To participate, plant some locally.

“Cannellini” is an elongated white bean grown in the Four Corners for years, brought there by immigrants.

“Cannellini” is an elongated white bean grown in the Four Corners for years, brought there by immigrants.

Cannellini makes a fabulous addition to minestrone, or becomes the center of a yummy Mediterranean marinated bean salad.  A smaller, creamier bean is the “Colorado River Bean” which resembles the Mayflower bean from SeedSavers catalog.

“Colorado River bean” takes its name from the Colorado Plateau where it is grown.  This small speckled bean makes a wonderfully creamy soup.

“Colorado River bean” takes its name from the Colorado Plateau where it is grown. This small speckled bean makes a wonderfully creamy soup.

Worlds apart in flavor and size is the Christmas lima–a true lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus–like a moon).  This one is not like your average butter bean.  It is massive as beans go, rich and almost meaty–great for a vegetarian centerpiece dish.

“Christmas lima” or “Chestnut lima” is a true lima bean Phaseolus lunatus, large, flat, purple mottled, and hearty flavored.

“Christmas lima” or “Chestnut lima” is a true lima bean, large, flat, purple mottled, and hearty flavored.

 

“Aztec Black Bean” or “Black Turtle” is the traditional bean of the Nahuatl or central Mexico.

“Aztec Black Bean” or “Black Turtle” is the traditional bean of the Nahuatl or central Mexico.

 

“Anasazi Bean” is the only trademarked bean in the mix.  Original seeds of this fast-cooking bean were actually found in an ancestral Puebloan ruin in the Four Corners.

“Anasazi Bean” is the only trademarked bean in the mix. Original seeds of this fast-cooking bean were actually found in an ancestral Puebloan ruin in the Four Corners.

These two beautiful beans, Black Turtle and “Anasazi bean,” bind up the full complement of flavors in Tom’s Mix.  As individual beans, each is hard to beat flavor-wise and texture-wise.  Together, combined in our Tom’s Mix, they are a culinary delight.

Black beans are the staple of many traditional diets, from Meso-America to northern New Mexico.

The “Anasazi” is the fastest cooking and least distressing to digestion of any bean I know of.

So now are you feeling enriched by these visual legume wonders?  I hope so!  Now to come try your hand at identifying them firsthand, and to treating your taste-buds at our Flor de Mayo tent at Sunday farmers market.

Identified or not, these precious heirloom beans in Tom’s Mix make a fabulous soup that our market and online customers rave about. You can ship out this Southwest gift to all corners of the globe via paypal at http://www.flordemayoarts.com.

Tom’s Mix is so versatile—try them as a dip or as a most colorful marinated bean salad when the weather heats up. If you are inspired to assist the bean genes into the future, try your hand at growing some of the Tom’s Mix varieties this summer in your own garden.  You can learn lots more at our Seed Libraries (Pima County Public Library) and at the upcoming International Seed Library Conference to be held in Tucson in early May.

Diversity of Southwestern heirlooms in Tom's Mix

Diversity of Southwestern heirlooms in Tom’s Mix

See you Sunday at St Phillips Plaza or at the NSS Store, 3061 N Campbell. We look forward to talking heirloom beans with you!

[As for the diversity of those cholla flowers mentioned at the start….. Tia Marta will be exploring our diverse cholla flora at upcoming cholla bud harvesting workshops: Sat April 11 sponsored by NativeSeeds/SEARCH and Sat April 18 sponsored by Tohono Chul Park. Contact each for more info: http://www.nativeseeds.org and http://www.tohonochulpark.org, or call Flor de Mayo at 520-907-9471.]

Categories: Sonoran Native | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

They’re here–they’re ready! Cholla buds’ grand opening!

staghorn cholla flower just opening (N.Stahler photo)

staghorn cholla flower just opening (N.Stahler photo)

Tia Marta here with important news—something I was planning to share with you next month but wow here it is—our staghorn cholla cacti flowered yesterday.  That is a herald-horn in the desert for sure—it is cholla bud harvesting time again!

Ever since I was first led into the desert to learn cholla harvesting decades ago now by my Tohono O’odham mentor and teacher, Juanita, I’ve looked forward to this signal and to our ritual, with hope for the return of desert-food-season, and with gladness —not to mention with a little trepidation for the hazards of the business.  But in all the years of practicing our ritual harvest I’ve never seen the buds come on so early.   This is fully a month sooner than the “old normal.”  All through the 1970s,’80s, into the ‘90s, we could predict the cholla harvest to be cranking up about mid-April and ending in the first week in May, a small window of opportunity.  Curiously, the cholla season since the turn of the recent millennium has extended in both directions, beginning earlier and lasting longer into May.  It is as if the chollas are hedging their bets, not knowing where climate change will lead….In spring of 2013 cholla flowers were open by April 2 and I picked my last bud on San Ysidro Day, May 15.  And this year?  Buds were showing before March and the first flowers were open on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17!

traditional saguaro rib tongs for cholla bud harvest (MABurgess photo)

traditional saguaro rib tongs for cholla bud harvest (MABurgess photo)

These plants are sensing subtle climate signals to which we also should attune ourselves.  While we have been basking in this desert’s “winter without a winter,” the chollas have been storing energy and the scant rainwater that fell, in prep for an early show.  What this all means for its pollinators, for spiders, ants, packrats, birds—the whole food chain and web of life here in the Arizona Uplands of the Sonoran Desert—remains to be seen.

staghorn cholla bud showing true leaves and spines at aereole (JRMondt photo)

staghorn cholla bud showing true leaves and spines at aereole (JRMondt photo)

So, time to grab your hat, collecting tongs, bucket (and don your non-floppy long sleeves, pants, tough boots) and head for the nearest cholla-covered hills for the harvest.   As Juanita taught, begin your cholla harvesting expedition with respect and a touch of humility.  This land can feed us from its prickly productivity if we shed the gimme-gimme attitude of contemporary culture and enter into it mindfully.

first de-spining of cholla buds (MABurgess photo)

first de-spining of cholla buds (MABurgess photo)

All cacti are protected by law in Arizona.  However, cactus buds or fruits, harvested with care and frugality, and with the landowner’s permission, is the only part of the cactus which is fair game.  Our Native Plant Law is most enlightened and far-thinking.  One might go so far as to call it sustainable.  Imagine Arizona legislators realizing that our cacti and succulents are important to us!  (That decision thankfully happened in an era of greater wisdom and compassion.)  While cacti and other succulents appear so tough, and really can withstand extremes of heat and dryness, they are also vulnerable to many forms of human disturbance, to invasive grasses, fire, fungal attacks where tissue has been damaged, insect and rodent infestations.  When native cacti or succulents are scraped from desert soil, we are left with aggressive, blah and boring, foreign grasses and weeds.  The Sonoran Desert natives we know and love can’t easily re-vegetate.

For best harvesting, Juanita would seek out stands of the gangly staghorn cholla (Cylindropuntia versicolor) growing plentifully over the foothills of the Tucson Mountains, Catalinas and Rincons.   They are found on rocky upslopes down to lower rocky ground.  Staghorn is the one with the sensational variety of colors—each plant a different brilliant phase of lemon yellows, oranges, rust, reds, wine, or maroon.   While you  are searching out unopened buds for collecting, give yourself a chance to savor the opened cholla flowers up close.  Their petals appear to be made of shiny silk or satin with sparkling surfaces that leave you (and their insect pollinators) visually jazzed, maybe momentarily breathless with their beauty.  You might see a tiny beetle or solitary bee bumbling about in a forest of stamens in search of the nectar the cactus pays them for their pollination services.  We aren’t the only ones out harvesting.

stamen strands in staghorn cholla flower (B.Sandlin photo)

stamen strands in staghorn cholla flower (B.Sandlin photo)

Juanita would jump at the chance to find a stand of pencil cholla (Cylindropuntia arbuscula, think arbusto in Spanish, referring to its shrub-like shape) because wee’pah-noy (as she called it in Tohono O’odham neok) has the largest bud and the fewest spines of all the chollas she sought, but it also is the most infrequently found.  Pencil cholla tends to grow in a few clustered stands in flatter places, like the upper terrace of the Santa Cruz near Green Valley or lower bajadas in Avra Valley.

The buckhorn cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthacarpa meaning spiny-fruited), was Juanita’s least favorite because, despite its large delectable bud, the spines at every aereole on the buds are tough and difficult to remove, making preparation for eating a real ordeal.  If left to mature into fruit, they still have a spiny cover.

cane cholla flowers, buds, and last year's yellow fruits (MABurgess photo)

cane cholla flowers, buds, and last year’s yellow fruits (MABurgess photo)

Another cholla found in higher desert into the grasslands, which Juanita occasionally collected, is cane cholla (Cylindropuntia spinosior)—the one with perky right-angle branches off a single trunk, which sag in winter frost-hardiness.  They have recognizable round yellow fruits which may remain on the branch-tips all year.  Their bud is a fat round, easily de-spined joy to harvest, and their open flower is a brilliant magenta.

In a neat video by cinematographer Vanda Gerhardt  (link on my website www.flordemayoarts.com), and in my recent Edible Baja Arizona article “A Budding Meal” (Vol. 5, pp122-24, www.ediblebajaarizona.com ), I have described how Juanita would initially brush off spines while on the plant, harvest one bud at a time always leaving some for other creatures and for the plants themselves, carry them back home in her bucket to de-spine fully in a wire mesh screen-box with an old broom.

red cholla buds de-spined ready for cooking (MABurgess photo)

red cholla buds de-spined ready for cooking (MABurgess photo)

yellow staghorn buds in the cook pot (MABurgess photo)

yellow staghorn buds in the cook pot (MABurgess photo)

After a 15 or 20-minute boiling, she would discard the water, and voila, there were the delicious buds, tangy and tasty, ready to eat, or to stirfry with chiles and garlic, to pickle, or dry.  Drying is an ordeal and takes a full week in dry weather to become stone-hard and safely storable, but it makes them available year round.  If you have freezer space, freezing in its own juice is a perfect way to preserve them for the rest of the year’s enjoyment.

When it comes to nutrition, cholla is up there with the super-foods, with highest measures of available calcium and complex carbs–plus flavor like a tangy artichoke.  It can help strengthen bones, balance blood sugar, remove cholesterol, and provide sustained energy—wow what more do we need?

Janos’ Downtown Kitchen has created a stupendous cholla en escabeche, and native foods writer Carolyn Niethammer in Cooking the Wild Southwest (UA Press, 2011) teaches how to use cholla as the primo ingredient in her Cholla-Pasta-Primavera.  For a gourmet treat, try my cholla buds in mole sauce recipe, made easily with Amy Valdes Schwemm’s Mano y Metate mole powders (www.manoymetate.com):

Botones de Cholla en Mole Pipian Rojo 

2 cups fully cooked cholla buds

2-3 Tbsp organic olive oil

2-3 tsp Mano y Metate Pipian Rojo Mole powder

1 Tbsp minced organic garlic

1-1 ½ cups organic chicken broth or vegetable broth

Sautee mole powder in hot olive oil about 1 minute; quickly add minced garlic and stir-fry; slowly stir in 1 cup or more broth, extending it into a sauce of desired consistency as it re-thickens.  Add cooked cholla buds to the sauce.  Serving suggestion:  serve hot with corn tortillas and heirloom beans.  Serves 4.

If you want to try someone else’s harvest, try the Tohono O’odham Community Action’s (www.TOCAonline.org ) Desert Rain Café in Sells, Arizona, serving a mouthwatering cholla picadillo salad worth the trip out for lunch.  

For more of my favorite ideas for fabulous cholla dishes and hors d’oeuvres, check out www.flordemayoarts.com.   And for my detailed instructions on reconstituting dried cholla buds you can download from the same website.  Dried cholla buds will be available for purchase from Native Seeds/SEARCH store (3061 N Campbell, Tucson) and web-store (www.nativeseeds.org) seasonally after April.

Happy harvesting!

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