When cooks talk about mesquite, it's usually in reference to foods smoked over mesquite wood, and the rich flavor the woodsmoke imparts. In stark contrast to mesquite woodsmoke, our Wild Mesquite has a naturally sweet and nutty flavor that reminds us of hot cocoa and cinnamon toast. Our wild mesquite powder is not harvested from the wood but instead from the inner pulp of the mesquite beans that form after the fuzzy, finger-shaped flowers of the mesquite tree bloom.
The mesquite tree belongs to the legume family, and the beans look like elongated, leathery pea pods that have multiple seeds nestled in a row. The sweet pulp that makes our mesquite powder surrounds each seed and is carefully separated from the seed and exterior of the pod. Most mesquite powder on the market is made from the ground seeds and outer shell, ours uses only the sweet pulp, resulting in a more complex and intense flavor.
Gluten-free, vegan and naturally sweet with no added sugars, mesquite powder is delicious simply stirred into hot milk and sipped like a hot cocoa. We also love adding it to the dough or batter of any baked good that could use a little cinnamon-y sweetness.
Don't just relegate it to the world of sweets, though. Try adding it to a mix of Smoked Pimentón Paprika and Silk Chili to make awesome spiced nuts, stir it into a warming braise instead of adding cinnamon or sprinkle over the top of a sweet potato casserole.
Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Mesquite bean flour
Sun-dried, then ground
Wild mesquite pod pulp (Prosopis alba & nigra)
Milk Chocolate • Vanilla • Cinnamon Toast
Mesquite has been a valuable source of food, fuel and shelter for desert-dwelling people throughout the Americas for thousands of years. Mesquite pods were a nourishing source of protein that were collected and stored in granaries before being ground into flour to make breads and cakes or stirred into water to make a sweetened drink. The trees also play an important ecological role in the arid and semi-arid lands where they grow. The millions of flowers each tree produces feeds a vast diversity of animals and tiny nodules on each tree's roots, deposit nitrogen, an essential nutrient for plants, into the soil. In the desert, nitrogen is even more scarce than water and as a result, scientists have found that twice as many plants are grow under the canopy of a mesquite tree than out in the open.
There are many difference species of mesquite that are found all throughout arid and semi-arid regions in the Americas. We sourced our mesquite powder from Santiago del Estero in Argentina. Known as algarrobos in Argentina, mesquite is highly valued and provides many benefits for the local people. The nodules on the roots (they are legumes) help improve soil quality, the wood from the tree is used to make high-quality furniture, and the sweet pods are a food source for humans and livestock. In addition, the trees provide shade for humans and animals, which is essential in Santiago del Estero, which is infamous for his hot summers: temperatures can reach 110° F or higher!