About Mesquite

The mesquite tree grows in the desert regions throughout the world. For 2000 years, mesquite meal was an integral part of the daily diet of Native Americans in Southwestern USA, Mexico and many areas of South America. mesquite food products.

While in some circumstances mesquite can be a weed, it is also a very highly respected tree in many parts of the world for human, wildlife and livestock food, firewood, enrichment of soils due to the nodules on their roots, and provision of excellent lumber for fine furniture. The trees have small green leaves and yellow hanging seedpods. Mesquite bean flour is made by washing the pods with water, sorting them for quality, milling and sieving of the pods to isolate the most flavorful portion of the pods in the same fashion that Indians did for centuries using stone mortars. The flour is 100% organic.

The mesquite bean flour has a distinctive rich flavor similar to mocha coffee, cinnamon and chocolate. When the flour is heated in the oven, alone or in mixtures, a pleasant aroma appears that is somewhat similar to coconut. The most favorable response occurs when it constitutes from 10 to 20% by weight of total mixture. The flour is used to provide flavor and aroma in baked goods and not for its structural characteristics. Since the flour contains no gluten it is useful for those with gluten intolerance. In Argentina bakeries that produce products for people with gluten intolerance use a mixture of 50% mesquite flour and 25% flour of rice and manioc respectively. The mesquite flour has more protein and dietary fiber than either rice or manioc flour. Scientific tests found that when mesquite flour was incorporated into corn chips at 10% both non chip and chip eaters greatly preferred the chips with mesquite. In long term storage with wheat flour, mesquite greatly reduced the oxidation of the fats in the wheat flour suggesting it may be a good anti oxidant. The amino acid balance of wheat and mesquite flour are highly complementary resulting in a more favorable protein quality than either mixture alone.

In cooking, mesquite bean flour can be used as either a spice or flour. As a spice, Charles Perry of the Los Angeles Times (read story) found it worked wonderfully with spare ribs and almond shrimp. Charles Perry also found it works very well with citrus and we especially like the mesquite tropical fruit cake recipe with fresh grated LIME peel in our list of recipes. In baking, you can mix mesquite with other flours where you will find that mesquite enhances the flavor, aroma and color. It is best to start off with 2 tablespoons of mesquite flour per cup of total dry ingredients which is about 12% by weight. If you never have used mesquite, to gain an appreciation of what mesquite can do, we suggest you try this contrasting use. Add 2 tablespoons of mesquite per cup of dry ingredients to your favorite waffle recipe and note the rich cinnamon/chocolaty flavor and aroma.

Photo: Genetic variation in mesquite (Prosopis) pods of North and South American Origin.

Just a few precautions, while the high fiber content of mesquite flour is very beneficial for celiacs, rapid increases in consumption of dietary fiber may result in abdominal cramping, bloating, or gas. One food columnist has recommended that if you are on a 10-15 g/fiber/day diet, that that you only increase the fiber consumption by 2-3 grams/day. If no digestive stress occurs add another 2-3 grams/day. For mesquite flour this would be about half a tablespoon per day.

Mesquite bean flour is rich in sugars and proteins that makes an ideal growth medium for all bacteria (however the bacteria can only grow after mesquite flour is moistened). Unlike products such as cocoa powder that undergoes extensive processing that reduces the bacterial counts to essentially zero, mesquite bean flour is very minimally processed in rural areas in Latin America. For these reasons Casa de Mesquite strongly advises that mesquite flour be used in applications involving baking or cooking. Should you desire to use mesquite in mixtures without further heating/baking, keep the mixtures cool and consume within 20 minutes of moistening.

For mesquite flour meal wholesale orders, both packaged and bulk, call 1-310-651-2364.

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