Photo credit: Oracle State Park

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Harvest Mesquite Pods Now
for Mesquite Grinding on Oct. 13

Anyone who loves adding the sweet, natural flavor of mesquite flour to pancakes, cookies, breads or granola should get out their gathering bags now and start picking the yellowish-tan pods off trees as they ripen.

After drying them thoroughly, you will be ready to have them ground into mesquite meal (flour) when the Desert Harvesters bring their hammermill to Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education for a desert harvest event on Saturday, Oct. 13. The hammermill and crew came to OSP three years ago, grinding visitors’ pods for four solid hours.

→ Watch this video on mesquite harvesting & preparation.

→ To learn even more, visit the Desert Harvester site.

Additional events for the desert harvest event at Oracle State Park are still being planned. The park will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; milling will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Schools and youth groups can find out more about scheding environmental education programs by calling the park office at 1-520-896-2425 and leaving a message.

For more information about the park and Saturday activities, including new events, visit the Oracle State Park website or call Jennifer Rinio, Environmental Education Ranger at 520.896.2425.

Harvesting Mesquite Pods Is Easy...

(1) Pick dry, ripe (not green) pods directly off the tree. They should pull off easily. Do not harvest from the ground. Since trees vary in flavor, taste a pod to judge its sweetness before continuing to harvest from that tree. Collect a minimum of three to five gallons of clean pods. Do not collect any with dark mold spots.

(2) Wash in fresh water and spread pods out to dry in the sun, on a cloth, on a metal roof, or hood of your car for 2 to 3 days. Or, dry in oven at 200-degrees for 20-40 minutes on cookie trays.

(3) Once brittle-dry (they should snap in two when bent), store in a dry place until grinding day. Or place pods in airtight containers and freeze.