Sunday, June 28, 2009

Magic of Mesquite

The Tree of Life...the mesquite, pronounced mess-keet, is busy dropping its bean like pods (shown above). The mesquite is also called Algarroba. This is a photo of one of the many mesquites we have in our yard. I will be making mesquite bean jelly soon, from the pod. We also use the wood of the tree for grilling, but the Native Americans used ALL parts of the tree. Its bark was used for basketry, pottery, fabrics, rope and medicine. The trunk and branches were used in bows, arrows, mortars, and furniture. Thorns were used for tatooing and to make sewing needles. Leaves made tea and made an eyewash and also for headaches and stomach aches. The gum was used for sweet gum, glue for mending pottery, face paint, pottery paint and hair dye. The pod is very nutritious. You can buy mesquite flour at many whole foods markets today.

"Over the past several centuries, no one plant has probably played a greater and more vital role in the lives of humankind in the southwestern United States than the short stature, crooked mesquite. Relied on for a myriad of necessities such as food, weapons, shelter, and medicine, early southwestern aboriginal inhabitants drew upon the mesquite in most every aspect of their lives, even to a position of honor in their religious ceremonies. Mesquite during times of drought and pestilence supplied early western travelers and settlers with survival, both in food and shelter, as most all parts of the tree were used. Mesquite that dominated the dense brush on millions of acres of the southwestern United States conveyed many emotions to humans who looked at it as a noble warrior, who confronted it as a powerful adversary, or who drew to it for survival." (excerpted from The Magnificent Mesquite, Ken E. Rogers)

Primroses burn their yellow fires

Where grass and roadway meet

Feathered and tasseled like a queen

Is every old mesquite.


Magpie's Mumblings said...

Thank you Yvonne for something else I learned! Mesquite is another thing I have taken for granted and didn't know the origin of...I always thought it was a flavour the grocery store moguls dreamed up! Obviously I'm sadly lacking in my education!!

Threads of Inspiration said...

That is really interesting. What does mesquite jelly taste like?

yvonne said...

It's pretty good. I will get your address and mail you some after mine is made.

Threads of Inspiration said...

That is so sweet of you.