(NaturalNews) When I lived in the Sonoran desert in Arizona, I used to take long daily walks for exercise and adventure. I would go far off the beaten path and hike through dry washes, weaving my way through all the astonishing desert plants, many of which are highly medicinal, by the way.
I also happened upon many creatures in the desert, including falcons, which have an amazing audible scream that just sends shivers down your spine when you hear it live and in person. But the most interesting creatures I saw were the desert Javelina.
Sometimes incorrectly called “desert pigs,” these are wild pig-shaped creatures with thick spiny hair, and they’re not really related to pigs at all. They often travel in family packs of a half-dozen at a time, with three or four large adults and a few children javelina tagging along.
I actually have pictures of these creatures right in my back yard in Tucson. They also love carrots, I quickly discovered one night after they rooted up my carrot beds. And they’re quite aggressive about going after any kind of food or garden plants you might have outside.
Food from desert trees!
In observing these creatures, I noticed that they also eat mesquite pods. These are the long, beige-colored seed pods from the mesquite tree (a type of legume tree) which is extremely common in the Sonoran desert.
Seeing them eat this surprised me, because not being a person who grew up in the desert, I had no idea these seed pods were edible. But over time, I observed javelinas eating the seed pods, and I also found lots of examples of javelina poo which contained the rather obvious elements of digested seed pods. So I knew they were using them as a food source. (You can learn a lot about animals by studying their poo, by the way…)
Curious to try these seed pods myself, I began harvesting them off the trees and chewing on them as a snack. Over time, I learned that indigenous American Indians relied quite heavily on mesquite pods as an important food source. I even went to the local Desert Museum where I saw demonstrations of how the native people of the area would grind mesquite pods into a high-protein flour using a large mortar and pestle tool. This was serious work requiring a high level of stamina, by the way. A real grind. Literally.
To this day, there is a non-profit in Tucson, Arizona that runs around each year with a mesquite pod grinding machine, and they’ll grind your mesquite pods into flour which you can use in baking or cooking. It replaces regular white flour or whole wheat flour cup for cup.
Reposted from NaturalNews