Just before the buckthorn cholla cactus of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona flowers in the spring, its buds are hand picked in a sustainable way to be eaten throughout the year. Cholla buds are a sacred food of the Tohono O’odham Native American people of the Southwest desert and have been chosen as a Slow Foods Ark of Taste heritage food.
Our wild-harvested cholla buds are de-spined (which is truly a labor of love) and carefully shade-dried for storage. Properly dried, this wild vegetable will last for years and was considered a foundational food for the native peoples of the Southwest desert. Rich in calcium, the folk lore for cholla buds is that they were to be eaten by all growing children, pregnant or nursing mothers and the elderly to ward off weakening of the bones. The other main folk use of cholla buds was to prevent diabetes and give sustained energy, perhaps as a result of their high pectin and soluble fiber content.
After soaked in water for 24 hours, cholla buds have a mushroomy, slightly grainy consistency and a mild, asparagus-like taste. Use whole in soups, chopped for stir-frys and in other savory dishes. You don’t need many buds; three to four per person is enough to add flavor, variety and nutrition to any meal.
Our favorite way to use them is added to sautéed greens cooked in butter and olive oil.
Ingredients: Wild-harvested cholla buds. Nothing else.
$25 for 113.4 grams
Net wt. 4 oz
Recipe: CHOLLA BUD ZITI BAKE