Mesquite bean pods have been an integral wild plant staple of traditional native diets in northern Mexico for centuries. Natives identified ways of grinding the bean pods into flour using mortar and pestle-like tools made out of stone.
Mesquite flour is also low on the glycemic index, which can help to keep blood sugars controlled, and is gluten-free. In addition, it is a good source of soluble fiber that can help maintain blood sugar control.
The Guachichiles would make bread, cakes, and an alcoholic drink from the mesquite pods or flour.Embed from Getty Images
Cactus fruit can be eaten raw(after cleaning) or cooked and are commonly found in the region of San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes. Often, it is made into a drink called “Colonche”.
Colonche has been consumed by Guachichiles and their ancestors for thousands of years.
For preparation, the cactus fruits are first peeled and then crushed in order to obtain the juice. The crushed fruit is then boiled for 2–3 hours. After cooling, the juice is allowed to ferment for 4-7 days and can be used as an alcoholic beverage which the Guachichil would use regularly in ceremonies and would drink every 3 days.
Some preliminary evidence shows that prickly pear cactus can decrease blood sugar levels by 17 to 47% in people with type 2 diabetes.Embed from Getty Images
Mexican pine nuts are rich in magnesium, iron, antioxidants, zinc, and protein, which can help with diabetes management, heart health, and brain health. The natives steeped the Pinyon Pine needles for tea. The inner bark was used to ward off starvation. The seeds/nuts were eaten raw, roasted, or ground into flour.Embed from Getty Images
Tribes across Northern and north-central Mexico have relied on foraged Barrel cactus fruit as an important food source during the sparse and desolate summer months. Barrel cactus fruit is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Its pulp can be applied externally as an analgesic.Embed from Getty Images
Yucca fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which can benefit the immune system and overall health. Vitamin C stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells, which fight infections and viruses.
Vitamin C helps the body heal from injuries, and is an important component in the blood vessels and muscles.
Getting enough vitamin C regularly can also help boost your immune system.
Here is a species from the wasp family known as the Mexican Honey Wasp or by its scientific name the Brachygastra mellifica.
It is less than an inch long and can be found in Texas and Mexico. It is able to produce edible honey.
This honey is considered a delicacy in some areas. The honey produced by the wasp is likened to maple syrup and can be used just like regular honey that we use and consume from their biological cousins; the bees.Embed from Getty Images
This root tuber (Camorra del Cerro) is similar to potatoes and is good for both eye health and aiding the body’s defense against germs; thus boosting the immune system. It’s also good for the reproductive system and organs like the heart and kidneys.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans, also known as the blue candle cactus, bilberry cactus, or blue myrtle cactus is a plant from the Cactaceae family. They are native to Central and Northern Mexico. This cactus variety also produces edible
berries, which are greatly enjoyed as a snack in Mexico. The berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Pulque is the alcoholic beverage that’s made from agua miel by adding the poliuhqui octli (spoiled wine) to freshly collected agua miel, and allowing it to ferment. It’s is chock–full of probiotics and proteins–this white, somewhat slimy beverage is excellent for digestive health, as well.
The fruits of the pincushion cactus are juicy and sweet in flavor. They do not have to be peeled or cooked, so they can be easily consumed. They are also a good source of water in the desert.Embed from Getty Images
Rabbit and hare meat are excellent sources of protein. Protein keeps us healthy by building and repairing our muscles, skin, and blood. Rabbit and hare meat are also excellent sources of iron.
Iron helps the transportation of oxygen throughout our bodies, giving us energy to be active and to grow strong.Embed from Getty Images
Venison’s health benefits are many. For starters, it is one of the leanest, heart-healthy meats available. Low in fat and high in protein; it is also packed with zinc, haem, iron, and vitamin B.
Venison meat is also economical, even after factoring in the up front costs of equipment, licensing, and processing meat. Deer venison was one of the main game sources for the Guachichiles.Embed from Getty Images
The flowers of the maguey are edible and many people toss them in salads. The leaves are rich in agave sap and can be eaten. The stalk of the plant can be roasted before they flower. Roasting the stalk produces a distinctive, sweet molasses flavor.
Maguey flowers are utilized in many indigenous culinary traditions of Mesoamerica.