|A Sonoran Desert Mesquite Bosque made up of Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina).|
|Velvet Mesquite bean pods ripe for harvesting mid-June in the Sonoran Desert.|
When the pods are dry and tan they are also ready for people to harvest them for eating. The whole process can be quite easy for someone willing to brave the heat. Simply find a tree with tan dry pods and pull them off the tree. Some trees will produce sweeter tasting pods then others. Simply break some pods and chew on them to see if you like the taste or not. Collect pods from trees that taste favorable to you. Mesquite pod collecting is legal on certain public lands such as Forest Service and BLM lands but not on National Park or preserve lands. Private land is legal if you have permission. Make sure you know where you are and the legality of collecting at that location.
Once you have collected all the pods you want, take them home and dry them out in the oven. Set the oven as low as possible, 150 degrees is a good temperature. Simply bake the pods until they are perfectly dry. This is essential, the bean pod must be absolutely dried to the point where they can be very crisply broken. If they are not crispy dry, the pods will gum-up and clog whatever you choose to grind them up with. Also, drying the pods in the oven kills the often abundant insect life that likes to feed on them. You can eat these bugs for the added protein, but I prefer not to, and don't suggest you do... Next, you must grind-up the whole pods somehow. Either a blender or coffee grinder will work well. Simply place the pods in the blender or grinder and turn it on. This should yield a powder mixed with pulp. Lastly, the pulp and flour must be separated out from one another by using a mesh sieve. The pulp, which will contain seeds if you used a blender, cannot be eaten. Coffee grinders grind-up the beans making them edible. The flour that comes through the sieve can be eaten.
Below are two websites with many good mesquite recipes: