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MESQUITE (Prosopis sp.)
  July 2014 Issue / Vol. 2, No. 14                                                                                                                                                                           Friend or foe?

Chef Kevin Tanaka

Pastry Chef Winnona Herr

July 2014 Chef's Larder

Chef Aaron Geister

Mixologist Eddie Garcia


Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya

Garland's Oak Creek Lodge Restaurant Revue

Arizona Mesquite Company

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Synopsis:  Mesquite – Prosopis sp.

Known as a problematic invasive in some parts, the hyper-hardy mesquite has a friend and foe reputation. Anyone who has tried to eradicate this Fabaceae Family member can tell you just how hard it is to beat the mesquite. The mesquite’s mineral-rich pod powder adds a trademark sweetness to whatever it touches. But there’s more. Research revealed pods from P. glandulosa are “moderately” antidiabetic and will actually increase small beta cells in the pancreas (George, et al., 2011). But chefs who use the pods need to make sure they get gathered before the summer monsoons begin. Once wet, a common soil fungus (Aspergillus flavus) grows invisibly on them and creates a carcinogenic toxin. Amy Schwemm from Desert Harvesters in Tucson, reports that “preliminary tests show that before the rains, mesquite pods can be a very safe food.”