Eat Mesquite and More celebrates native food forests of the Sonoran Desert and beyond with over 170 recipes featuring wild, indigenous foods, including mesquite, acorn, barrel cactus, chiltepin, cholla, desert chia, desert herbs and flowers, desert ironwood, hackberry, palo verde, prickly pear, saguaro, wolfberry, and wild greens. The recipes--contributed by desert dwellers, harvesters, chefs, and innovators--capture a spirit of adventure and reverence inviting both newcomers and seasoned experts to try new foods and experiment with new flavors.
More than a cookbook, this guide also encourages a renaissance of "wild agriculture," one that foregrounds the ethical harvesting and selection of wild foods and the re-planting of native food sources in urban and residential areas without imported water or fertilizers. It contains stories of significant individuals, organizations, and businesses that have contributed knowledge, products, and innovation in the planting, harvesting, and use of wild, native desert foods. Additional essays reveal the poetry of the foraging life, how to plant the rain, and medicinal uses and ethnobotanical histories of desert plants.
Many of the food plants included in this cookbook--or close relatives of them--can be found or grown in the other deserts and drylands of North America and South America. As such, this book becomes a template for harvesting and cooking throughout the Americas. Universally, its concepts and approach can help communities everywhere collaborate with their ecosystem, while enhancing the health of all.
Desert Harvesters is a grassroots organization born of a desire, and evolved by a multi-decade practice, to grow, connect with, and contribute to a more delicious life enhancing our health and that of the place where we live, work, and play. "We promote and enhance the planting, awareness, and use of native wild food sources, which can thrive on harvested rainfall and runoff without the additional irrigation that depletes both groundwater and creeks and rivers. We offer workshops in how to harvest and prepare mesquite and other native foods, hold community events to celebrate local harvests, run tastings and mesquite millings to improve the harvest and simplify its processing, and plant native food-bearing trees and understory plantings throughout Tucson and beyond. By fostering a reciprocal relationship between native plants and local people, we believe (and have found) we can strengthen local food security, reconnect people with the ecosystem, and build a more dynamic and sustainable community."
Brad Lancaster is author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.
Lancaster will present:
Planting, Stewarding, and Feasting (from) Wild Food Forests Where We Live, Work, and Play
A celebratory presentation on Desert Harvesters and other dynamo local wild food and rain planting efforts that have enriched southwestern communities, ecosystems, and palates – and how you can likewise enrich the community where you live.
Desert Harvesters’ award-winning cookbook Eat Mesquite and More is your guide featuring 170 recipes from over 20 delicious southwestern food plants, and a few wild meats such as pack rat (the sweet meat of the desert). The bookencourages a renaissance of “wild agriculture,” one that foregrounds the ethical harvesting and selection of wild foods with the re-planting of native food sources in urban and residential areas without imported water or fertilizers.
Learn about milling grains from native bean trees; irrigating food-producing street trees and understory plantings with runoff from the street; throwing wild food and mulching parties; how to incorporate wild foods into your diet, along with the menus of restaurants and breweries; all the while growing friendships and neighborhood networks!
PRAISE for Eat Mesquite
"Eat Mesquite and More is a book of recipes and plant lore we may all really need someday, but it's also a book to enjoy right now with its interesting blend of native desert plants and recipes keyed to our habitual tastes and new, adventurous tastes as well." --Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and In My Kitchen
"The recipes in this book will inspire residents of the Southwest desert regions (and beyond) to new uses for the wonderful flavors of mesquite, cacti, and other abundant indigenous plants."--Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation
"I can almost taste this book, one that brings to life the flavors of this magical land while honoring the cultural traditions of the region and advocating for regenerative land management practices."--Courtney White, author of Grass, Soil, Hope and co-founder of the Quivira Coalition