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Thread: Some stuff I found in an urban area

  1. #1
    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Default Some stuff I found in an urban area

    I work in downtown Phoenix, and have started doing my Summertime foraging recon. I found lots of good things around, none of which is ready to eat yet. Including:

    Pomegranates
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    Figs
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    Olives
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    Mesquite beans
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    Pecans
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    Grapes
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    Barrel cactus fruit
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    Jojoba nuts
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    Looks like it's going to be a good year!


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    Just dont get caught in those peoples gardens in down town Phoenix

  3. #3
    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Haha! These are all legally and publicly accessible plants.

    There would be a lot more, if I could wander into a yard or two.

  4. #4

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    I did not know you could eat mesquite beans.
    Do you eat them like a veggie or a nut?

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete lynch View Post
    I did not know you could eat mesquite beans.
    Do you eat them like a veggie or a nut?
    You harvest them when they start to dry out. Then store them until completely dry. Then they are ready to be milled, pod and all, into a high-protein, gluten-free flour.

    The seeds are incredibly hard, and require a hammermill. Luckily a hammermill comes to town a few times during the Summer and Fall, and will mill mesquite pods for a small fee. Though I do have an internet friend who said he used a coffee grinder to successfully mill his beans.

    Then you can use the flour for porridge or baking. Of course my favorite formats are cookies and pancakes (with prickly pear syrup)

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    Because it's gluten-free, it has to be combined with wheat flour for most baking.

    I have also seen recipes for mesquite bean wine and jelly. But have no personal experience with either.

    I missed out on the harvest last year. But got some flour in a trade. This year, I hope to gather my own for the first time.

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    I just searched that database that Rick posted:

    http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...d.php?p=226997

    And found that the immature pods can be eaten raw, or cooked like green beans.

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    Pretty nice finds. Have you looked at the foraging data base yet. http://www.wildcrafting.net/ I'll bet some of those plants aren't listed. If you want to, you can add the plants and pictures to the database. You can even plot their locations for future reference.
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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    A while back, I added olives, pomegranates, and jojoba nuts.

    The figs are actually on somewhat questionable land. So I've been reluctant to add them. At least two of the four nearby trees are certainly OK to pick from, the other two, I'm not entirely sure.

    I will definitely add the mesquite, as soon as I figure out which trees have the best beans. The things are on every block around here. But most are Chilean or Argentine / non-native, which have less tasty beans and are super tall (= inaccessible).

    LOL - I'm picky.

    I just realized I punned.

    Picky! Get it?!

    Oh and I need to add pecans. Definitely.

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    the better half was looking over my shoulder as I was reading this thread and wanted me to ask if the cookies were a standard recipe with bean flour subtituted for regular flour? ( she's a baker and thinks of these kind of things) My question would be .How do they taste? I have used mesquite for smoking meat and you always get that interesting taste. Guess what I'm asking is do you get the mesquite taste from the beans? If you do it would make for a mighty tasty cookie or pancake.As you can probably tell the wife does the baking and I do the eating.:>)

    oldtrap

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Oh yeah I forgot to tell you about that part!

    Mesquite beans have a naturally sweet and somewhat spicy flavor - a bit like cinnamon. So it's usually used in sweet dishes.

    This is the recipe I used for the cookies:
    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archive...olate_chi.html

    Since there is no gluten in mesquite flour, it can only be subbed in for wheat flour up to 50%. The result will be a little more delicate and crumbly, and as in the case of pancakes, they can burn a lot more easily if you aren't careful.

    The exception to the rule being something like a meringue or the like, where you would have used almond or another nut flour.

    More mesquite recipes, and other info on harvesting and processing it, here:
    http://www.desertharvesters.org/mesq...tchen/recipes/

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    Great post and great info. You have some interesting wild edibles for sure!!!

  12. #12

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    Thanks for that great bunch of info, grrlscout!
    When I last visited my brother who lives in Texas, he never mentioned the uses of the mesquite tree other than fuel for the grill and smoker.
    I learn something new on this site every time I visit.

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Excellent job of getting out there and finding resources in your area. Should something atrocious happen, you are already that far ahead of the game. I have been doing "recon" for months now, exploring new land and finding increasingly more and valuable resources.
    Gave you some rep for your diligence and excellent pics.

    I find that a lot of people are TOO picky. I don't have to have the best of anything, just good enough to get me through the day. Some folks won't eat a bruised apple, but to me they taste just the same. Go figure.
    In a true Life/Death situation, I feel that you will lower the bar on being "picky".

    Excellent job nonetheless. Welcome to the world around you!!
    (I wonder how many people have driven or walked by the same resources you have taken pictures of here, and never given them a passing glance, or second thought)
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete lynch View Post
    Thanks for that great bunch of info, grrlscout!
    When I last visited my brother who lives in Texas, he never mentioned the uses of the mesquite tree other than fuel for the grill and smoker.
    I learn something new on this site every time I visit.
    Funny thing about mesquite and other desert edibles. I'm currently reading "Coming Home to Eat" by Gary Paul Nabhan. It's about food politics, and also the author's quest to eat within a 200 mile radius of his Tucson home for one year.

    He suggests that local foods, such as mesquite beans and amaranth fell out of favor when Easterners started moving out West. Ranchers and other more "civilized" folk didn't want to eat what the cattle and natives ate because it made you look poor or low-class. Eating wheat flour, and other cultivated food was a status symbol.

    Just my $.02, but I think that sort of thinking has always been the case. More refined and cultivated foods = more money. Only poor people ate gritty, whole grain pasta and bread, foraged vegetables, wild game, and the like.

    Today, it's almost like it's reversing. Whole grains, game meats, and other more rustic foods are becoming trendy and pricey, and super-refined and processed stuff (white bread, processed cheese product, hot dogs, etc.) is the food of the poor.

    Forgive me, I digress.

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Thanks for the props! Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    I find that a lot of people are TOO picky. I don't have to have the best of anything, just good enough to get me through the day. Some folks won't eat a bruised apple, but to me they taste just the same. Go figure.
    In a true Life/Death situation, I feel that you will lower the bar on being "picky".
    True, I can afford to be picky now, and I do like to eat *well* not just to survive. Things are good right now, and I'm thankful. This is just hobby stuff.

    When it comes to foraging to survive, my standards can get pretty darn low.

    I haven't quite gotten to the point of trying bugs yet. But if I had to, I guess I could.

    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    (I wonder how many people have driven or walked by the same resources you have taken pictures of here, and never given them a passing glance, or second thought)
    Totally. It kills me to see all the homeless who hang around in the park where most of those things are located. Most are begging for a dollar for a McDonald's hamburger, when there is a wealth of good food for free, all around.

    That's why I never take very much, in case there are some on the streets who do know what's around.

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Looks like the mesquite beans are just about ready! I found these guys at the library:

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    Gonna look for some more near work in about an hour.

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    be sure to take pics of them on your plate!! I think I found a honey mesquite tree in a man's yard on the way to the creek the other day. No beans on it yet and everyone in the county knows each other, so it shouldn't be a problem to ask the fella if he's gonna use them. He also has a date-palm tree that I aim to harvest some fruit from in the fall.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    I stopped by the park about 3x last week, and filled a cat litter bucket of mesquite beans each time. I'm gonna try and fill a few more before the monsoons hit (the winds knock them all off the trees).

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    Then, I'll give them a quick rinse, pick off all the stems, and let them dry out until October 31st -- when the hammermill comes to town.

    Also, the figs are ready!

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    I've got about 3-4 lbs now. I foresee lots of fig jam in my future! I might try my hand at some fancy variety, like fig-balsamic-black pepper or something.

    My workplace is utterly surrounded with date palms -- really good varieties too. Sadly, they are all 30+ feet high! No way to get to them without a cherry picker. So all Fall, it rains dried out, rotten old dates.

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    Senior Member grrlscout's Avatar
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    Olives are ready!

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    And soon, Washingtonia Palm berries:

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    The problem is getting to them.

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    I thought olive trees were ... well ... little trees but with a gnarly trunk. That thing looks like a coconut tree. I've never see one that looked like that. Then again, we don't have too many in Indiana to compare it with.

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