E-Mail 'Making Flour From Mesquite, by Pete Thorsen' To A Friend

Email a copy of 'Making Flour From Mesquite, by Pete Thorsen' to a friend

* Required Field

Separate multiple entries with a comma. Maximum 5 entries.

Separate multiple entries with a comma. Maximum 5 entries.

E-Mail Image Verification

Loading ... Loading ...


  1. Whoo Boy, is this ever timely. I live in the land of mesquite (deep south Texas) and using the natural resources that naturally grows without cultivation sounds like a good plan. Thanks for the post.

  2. Some feel the garden of Eden is the earth itself. The food is all around us, all we have to do is pick it up.

    Mesquite pods are one of the foods the good Lord has blessed us with. The native Apache’s the government interred at the Ft. Sill concentration camp once walked 90 miles one way (over a single weekend) to gather the pods they remembered and cherished from their childhood.

    Keep working with the recipe, hopefully it will come out better next time.

  3. Grazing cattle in West Texas and eastern New Mexico is how eastern New Mexico got covered in Mesquite. Cows would eat the pods, move 10 miles and spread the undigested seeds where they would make new plants. When I was a kid, eastern New Mexico was pretty barren. You go out there now, and it is covered in Mesquite.

    I wonder what toxins are in them seeds.

  4. If I were attempting this process I might include acorn flour from oak trees that I read are abundant in Texas. There are many websites that describe the process of making flour out of acorns. The combination of milled acorn flour combined with mesquite flour should help break down the sugars. The absence of gluten in the flours will make for a dense bread. Having some vital wheat gluten in long term storage would help soften the bread when added to the mix.

  5. Don’t be discouraged. The only wild flour I know of that will rise like wheat flour is Lotus. Everything else (acorn, etc.) is pretty much just a “chunk of stuff” to quote the wild harvesting author who taught me. The important thing is that it contains digestible carbohydrates.

    Maybe try noodles.

  6. Pete, Great article and testing. I also live in mesquite country. There is a big tree in my front yard here in the city.

    Since density and rising are iissues with mesquite bean flour, what about flatbreads? Your efforts with western bakery products such as muffins, cookies, pancakes are commendable. But I’m not sure that I ever heard of Indians baking a muffin.

    Can you make tortillas in a press, thin and crispy pizza flatbread, or fry up tortilla triangles to make chips? Please let us know how your testing efforts continue.

    Again, such a useful, timely article.

  7. I could add that the pods can be boiled and the resulting sweet water be reduced into a tasty sweet syrup. It is a process kind of like making maple syrup.
    The desert is full of edibles.

  8. I tried this and the resulting flour was so very bitter that I couldn’t eat the “cookies” I made from it. I guess it was closer to a hard tack than a cookie. I thought I had made a mistake by grinding up the entire pod instead of only the seeds inside.

    I don’t think I’d try it again, but if anyone has a recipe that is better, please share.

  9. Why would you grind the entire pod? Shouldn’t you just process the seeds? It seems that would be like grinding the whole acorn. Someone please let me know on this. My daughter has a super abundance of mesquite, to the tune of thousands of acres. This could possibly help a very many people.

  10. It sounds like an excellent component for stew thickener. Much easier to cook mixed stew than bake over a fire, when making a wholesome meal, in my experience.

  11. “Why would you grind the entire pod? Shouldn’t you just process the seeds? It seems that would be like grinding the whole acorn. Someone please let me know on this.”

    Think of it as eating green beans – you eat the whole pod there too. The pod contains the sugar and other nutrients. Plus on mesquite removing and using just the bean would be, well, problematic at best.

    “I tried this and the resulting flour was so very bitter that I couldn’t eat the “cookies” I made from it.”
    We all have different tastes but I found the mesquite flour to be more than just edible, I enjoyed the taste.
    For anyone that has foraged wild plants I am sure you have found the same species of plants sometimes taste way different than others you have eaten, at least I found that to be true. Many foraged plants I found were bitter. I often gather banana yucca flowers for salads but I always taste test in the field because some I found were very good and some were very bitter. The plants always looked identical and the only way I would know if they were bitter or not was a quick taste test.

  12. Another note: Those of you in mesquite country, when the pods turn yellowish just pick one off the tree and chew on it. That will let you taste what the flour will be like to some extent. When hiking I would often chew on an occasional pod when they were ripe. The texture is poor but just chew on it a little and spit out the fiber.

  13. On YouTube are videos about ‘Stamping Mills’ that were used to process Gold Ore. Surely, a Stamping Mill idea could be used to process Mesquite Seeds during a long food Crisis, or a Stamping Mill of sorts could be used for the ‘food’ hobbyist. The Stamping Mill would ‘bust-up’ the seed before a grinder is used.

    In a real life crisis, it might be ~easier to have a number of Goats and Sheep around. = +Eat all the other critters that eat Mesquite Seeds too, along with the Goats and Sheep.

    Man is the apex predator. A big Rattlesnake might think it’s the boss of the Mesquite Patch, feeding on all the mice eating Mesquite Seeds. But to Mankind, the rattlesnake is just another critter for the frying pan.

  14. I enjoy reading about gathered foods. But there is a huge problem that is rarely addressed. If you listed all the commonly accepted edibles that can be gathered between half and three quarters of them have an asterisk that essentially describes some toxic property. Either they are toxic if consumed in large amounts or they require special processing that will remove or convert the toxin. Mesquite beans are apparently very susceptible to a toxic mold that can kill you. If you don’t open the bean pod you may not even see the mold. Just a thought for those who eat the whole pod or grind it whole.

  15. We lived in the SW desert for over 30 years. I had always wanted to try processing mesquite beans, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I hope you’ll continue your testing and research, because this certainly would be a plentiful resource. There is a cookbook that’s commonly sold in the Tucson area that features prints of Ted DeGrazia paintings and has recipes that call for mesquite as an ingredient, but it doesn’t specify whether to use the beans when soft or hard and dry, so I found it pretty useless.

    On a related subject, the beans of the palo verde trees are pretty tasty when they’re green and soft. In our area that was around mid to late May. I used to pick and eat them when I was walking our dogs.

    The desert is full of food if you know when to pick it and how to prepare it.

  16. Pete, Great read. Would be compelling to see how mesquite flour cooks under varying conditions (regular oven, solar over, hot plates). From my experience tinkering around and milling different flour substitutes from nature, the burn points vary intensely and gives a glimpse at carbohydrate content of the material. The more it carbohydrates, the higher the carbon content. Without either other ingredients that help it rise and create air pockets the quicker to burn. I have an old pocket manual I picked up at a flea market in 1998 published in the early 1900’s that delves into unconventional uses of mesquite including a concoction for a wound dressing, a tonic, a way to make an adhesive and even a wart remover. Naturally, my skepticism got the best of me on the latter. I had a wart on my third toe that had been there for 13 years. Decided why not give it a shot, better than using pharmaceutical wart removers or the methods that use freezing and cold temp to shrivel it up. whats the worst that could happen? Took 3 hours to prepare after sourcing the other two ingredients. Followed instructions for placement, hour a day for 2 weeks. Four days in I noticed a reduction and after 15 days very little remained. Awestruck it worked. Mother Nature is marvelous, isn’t she?

  17. Storing a few dozen superpails of hard red winter wheat berries now will give you a glutenous flour source. This could give you a mesquite flour improver/extender that could last over 25 years at one pound a week. This will cost 3K from Pleasant Hill grain, 2K from Rainy Day Foods in paper bags (add pails, mylar bags and O2 absorbers to total cost) or perhaps under 1K if sourced locally in bulk.

Comments are closed.