The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mesquite Flour?

phxdog's picture
phxdog

Mesquite Flour?

June is one of the two months out of the year here in Arizona for harvesting mesquite pods. These are often used in place of hardwood chips to smoke meats, AND to grind into flour. The pods make a rather sweet flour (no gluten, obviously). I've read that a tablespoon or two adds a distinct flavor to breads. I have never tried this flour in a bread recipe (yet). Has anyone every tried mesquite flour? I think I'll try it tonight . . . I'll let you know.

Phxdog (Scott)

phxdog's picture
phxdog

Yesterday, I gathered up a pile of mesquite pods and brought them home to grnd into flour. What an adventure, I thought.

First rough grind was done in a heavy duty blender to reduce the pods to a size I could feed into my mill. I adjusted the mill for a 1st run & gave the mixture a rough grind; everything was fine up to that point. The second milling began with a strong smell, I ignored it, and pushed on. The final milling adjusted to produce a very fine grind, sounded very odd then slowed and stalled in the middle of the grind.

I adjusted, I turned on & off, I ran some wheat through, I tried just about everything. I soon realized that I had really screwed-up. The next 2 hours were spent removing a newly discovered mesquite epoxy from my mill stones. Once I finished, I was left with a spotless and once again functioning mill (and a resolve to PURCHASE my next batch of exotic flour).

I was so mad at myself, I did not even try to use the 3 tablespoons of mesquite flour that I had tbefore the crash. Oh well, live & learn.

mvgent's picture
mvgent

Check out this site:

http://www.desertharvesters.org/how-we-run-mesquite-millings/

 On November 1, you can have your beans ground for one dollar a gallon in Phoenix:

http://www.desertharvesters.org/how-we-run-mesquite-millings/

 

 

ericdf's picture
ericdf

I made a ball mill using diffrence size stanless steel balls in a stainless steel can,   then put it on it,s side to be rotated. after 24 hour what ever was in sided it was turned to powder even alumimun strips. So if you cook the seed or bean to get rid of the bad protens then put them in a ball mill for 24 hours you should have flour. right?

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

phxdog,

You are now the proud recipient of Three Sourdough X-File Stars! Five would have been awarded if you had proceeded to bake bread with those three tablespoons...,

For discovering mesquite epoxy and for having the guts to report a giant screw-up you are awarded Five Sourdough X-File Stars! Interesting things are discovered when you least expect it! Levity aside, I think you found out why you need to dry the newly harvested items to reduce the water content. Sometimes this requires "cracking", "rolling" or "crushing" the items to expose the internal structure otherwise you're apt to discover a new organic form of epoxy...,

Wild-Yeast

Peter Felker's picture
Peter Felker

Welcome to the world of mesquite. I've worked with mesquite beans for 30 years. Even if you take if off the desert floor with air temperatures of 110F the pods are not dry enough to mill. YOu have to dry them at about 125 F for 6 hours to take themoisture from 12% to about 6%. I have learned this the hard way. Im a plant scientist who has worked on genetic improvement of mesquites and also am a partner in Casa de Fruta that has mesquite flour in all of the Arizona Whole Foods.  IN addition to drying it, we also wash the pods in chlorinated water to get off surface dirt and contamination. Im at Peter_FElker@hotmail.com if you have any other comments

Peter

 

The mexican mills that store hundreds of tons of mesquite pods for animal feed have a horrible time grinding it because they dont want to dry it- their grinders also gum up. It is very good that you shared this with others.

Peter Felker's picture
Peter Felker

Hello I have a nice PDF file with fotos of various types of loaf and flat bread with mesquite showing the browning effect. I guess  you cant upload PDF files but if you send me an email I will  send you the file.

 

Peter

Peter_Felker@hotmail.com

AngelChic's picture
AngelChic

Hi Peter,

     I just joined the site, and although this post was a few years ago, I am hoping you might still review...so two comments.  Why would you use chlorine on pods; chlorine is toxic and used as a wartime weapon to kill the enemy?!  All you need to do is let the pods dry on the tree until the beans rattle, and pick from the tree.  When you pick pods from the earth you risk all kinds of contaminants yes; animal excrement, pesticide and defoliate run-off waters etc.  Seems simple to just pick the pods from the trees and not eat chlorinated pods.  Also, [if you're not mad at me now;-) ], I would be very interested in the paper on uses for mesquite by indigenous people.  I am trying to perserve some of my indian heritage for my children.  Thank you!

Angel

phxdog's picture
phxdog

OK,

Now I'm all excited to try grinding some mesquite flour again. This time, I think I'll start with a bit more research & follow-up on what you all have suggested. Thanks -

Phxdog (Scott)

Peter Felker's picture
Peter Felker

Peter Felker

Thanks Scott

I have some recipe and fotos I would like to send to you. I dont see how to do this on this site. Please send me an email. Peter_Felker@hotmail.com

Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, phxdog,

I did mesquite for the first time this year too. But I did do a little research before I started. For example, I dried my beans and thought I was all set. So I started milling. HA! I didn't get the beans dry enough and so had the gummy mess to clean up too. I had to soak my burrs for hours and then use a hard bristle toothbrush to get out the gum. I learned, though, and persevered, and HAVE used the flour. It is delicious! I put some in biscuits one night and didn't tell the family. They all complimented on the taste and asked what I did. Nice experience. I will definitely continue with my mesquite milling and using the meal.

BTW, mesquite beans make an awesome jelly. Cover the beans with water, bring to a boil. Simmer for about 3 hours then turn off the heat. Let pot sit several hours or overnight and then strain the juice. The cooking beans smell something like spiced honey and the jelly tastes that way too.

Hugs,
Anj

steve t's picture
steve t

I also burned up two old blenders trying to grind mesquite pods. Besides the drying of the pods what type of home milling machine would you recommend? I can easily gather 4 to 5 bushels just in my back yard and all my neighbors just throw their pods away. Also there are many palo verde trees in the neighborhood including a huge one in my back yard. I know their seeds make a fine legume flour. Forget about diluting some other flour  with mesquite flour or using mesquite flour as some minor additive. I made 100% mesquite flour muffins for my family and they were great. However, two trashed blenders later I'm looking for a solid fix for my home milling . Some input from someone exprienced in this activity would be deeply appreciated. If I get the wrong equipment and foster another mechanical disaster my wifes support could melt away. My culinary  adventure could be relegated to family storytelling about crazy uncle so and so and his exploding blenders. Thanks

Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, Steve,

I've done some more research on milling mesquite pods.  The mill of choice is a hammer mill, but the cost of one of those is really high.  I read of one area of Arizona where they have get-togethers and mill the beans.  There aren't enough people around here that would do anything with the mesquite beans so that isn't an option for me - the cost of even a small hammer mill is over 3K (at least by the company I had quote me one).  I'd have a hard time harvesting enough beans to make a  return on THAT investment! :-)

I bought an electric impeller impact mill for milling flour (mine is a Blendtec) and that works for the mesquite beans.  Just be sure your mesquite beans are really, really dry.  The fructose in the beans will gum up the mill if not.  You will also have to snap the beans into smaller pieces to be able to feed them into the mill.  The good thing about the impeller impact part is that it cleans itself out as long as the flour isn't too sticky.  I've put my beans through that, and got a lot of long stringy woody part on top and the mesquite flour on the bottom.  The impact mill works on the beans (the hardest part an the part with the high protein) too.

Mills aren't cheap though, so I haven't done this often.  I sure wish I knew a few others in this area that wanted to mill mesquite beans!

Hugs,
Anj

MJL's picture
MJL

I'm completely confused about what part of the mesquite pod makes the flour.  Can anyone tell me what part(s) need to be milled into flour and what part(s) need to be thrown away?

Thanks,

MJL

Anj's picture
Anj

MJL, all of the mesquite pod is used.  If you are using a hand mill, it probably won't work very well on the beans, which are very, very hard and which contain most of the protein.  You still get the taste of the mesquite, though, because that is the pod itself.   It's the pod that contains the fructose that makes the mesquite flour sweet.   Hope this helps!
Hugs,
Anj

Peter Felker's picture
Peter Felker

Good morning,

I have a few more suggestions on milling mesquite pods.  The indians discarded the hard seeds and so do we at CAsa de Mesquite, that is the largest producer of mesquite flour.  I can send you Castetter and Bells 1937 40 page paper on uses of mesquites by indigenous people if you like.

Due to the small size of the seeds(they are 10% by weight of the pods and the even smaller part of the edible part inside the seeds 5% by weight of the pods) it just doesnt make sense to us to grind the whole pods. then you get seed oils that go rancid. One of the major volatiles form entire ground pods comes from rancid seed oils.  The major sugar in mesquite pods according to Becker and Grosjean (1980) Journal of Agricultural and Food  Science is sucrose with no fructose.  The fructose story has become enshrined in local folklore but it simply is not true

I will send  you these papers if you like Peter_Felker@hotmail.com

Now if  you want to grind your own pods and have a really nice flour, dry the pods at 120-125F for 6- 8 hours, then drop them into a number 8 manual grinding sausage mill with 3/8 inch holes in the endplate(about $40 from walmart of $75 from a major restaurant supply store). If the pods are correctly dried the seeds (some broken) and a fine flour will gently fall out of the end adn you can use a flour sifter to get a lovely nice smelling sweet flour. if the pods are not dry enough you will get bubble gum in the grinder. You will burn up a small electric sausage grinder in an hour.

 

Good luck.

Did anyone see the mesquite story in teh Bread bakers guild newsletter?

 

Peter

Anj's picture
Anj

Hello, Peter,

I would be very interested in the in both the uses 40 page paper and the nutrition eval paper.  With the drought here, the mesquites are making beans like crazy and I would like to take advantage of this as much as possible.

May I ask a question?  Do you have a brand name on the manual sausage grinder?  I will check into it for sure because I really don't want to ruin my impact mill.

Here's what I found at Walmart.com:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Prago-Weston-10-Deluxe-Meat-Grinder/14321017
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Prago-22-Deluxe-Meat-Grinder/14223928
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Eastman-Outdoors-10-Meat-Grinder/15166679
Would any of these work?

Thank you and hugs,
Anj

freerk's picture
freerk

What a wonderful thread!

I have often run into mesquite flour at the health store here in Amsterdam, and told myself to find out more about it.

And once again TFL proves its amazing value!

I'm quite sure it's not going to be as fresh and thrilling an experience as what you guys are doing, gathering the pods and milling it fresh and all, but I'm sure going to give the flour a try here. You guys made me curious!

Freerk

DEMENTEDHIPPIE's picture
DEMENTEDHIPPIE

just if your interested in knowing, here is what works for my grinding of mesquite flour, first I take the beans I collected, and run them through a food processor, the cutting blades that sit at the bottom of the cup, i put them on cookie sheets and slow dry them in the oven at 170, usually the lowest setting it will go, to high and you will burn the sugars in the beans, this can take the better part of the day, they dont like to give up the moisture, once they are completely dry, and I  mean dry,  any moisture will gum up the grinder, I use my champion 1/3 hp motor with the grain mill attachment, (Used motor on ebay 40-80 bucks, grain mill new was 87 bucks,, shhh dont tell my wife I spent that much,, teehee.) anyway, after that I run them back through the food processor again, and run the hell out of it, Yes that makes some flour, but it alone will not open all the shells or make it fine testured, then I set the grain mill to a very corse setting and run it through, turn in a couple of clicks and again, and again and again and again, (Hope you get the idea) after that, I run it through a sifter, there will be hard shells and hard seeds, I could use these, but I think it will take away from the quality of the flour, (I am keeping some for the chickens, and the rest will get mixed with the part going for making beer.) I am collecting my flour part up and will grind it again once or twice, depending on how fine it is. The beans taste like Honey, and the flour straight on the tongue is sweet and plesant. It makes really good breads and cookies, and Beer. Or you can make beer, then use the beer to make mesquite beer bread with mesquite beer and mesquite flour,,,, wow,,,

 

DEMENTEDHIPPIE's picture
DEMENTEDHIPPIE

Ok I wrote before inspecting the grinder, yes it had the wonderful resin buildup, I do believe it is just part of the process, I used a small sandblaster to clean the parts, Warning man in the kitchen, but the parts look factory new again,

etraum's picture
etraum

Wow, this has been a great forum!  My wife and I let the pods dry on the ground for a few days after they fall off the tree and they seem to be perfect for grinding in our Vitamix dry grinding container.  The beans come out and we just sift the meal and throw it right in w/ almond flour for our waffles and biscuits.  Well, my WIFE does that.  I just keep the tree trimmed and I rake up the pods through June and July.  The flavor is stupendous and its WAY healthier than straight wheat flour (even "whole" wheat).

Mr. P. Felker, I read a post of yours from 7/31/11 in which you stated that you could provide a couple of papers (Castetter 1937 and Becker 1980) explaining more of the wonders of mesquite tree.  I'd like to get ahold of those from you if you ever happen to see this post.  I'll also look for them on the web. 

It's amazing how simple this process is and how tasty the breads are.  We still can't get over the flavor and health benefits from one tree right in our front yard.  

Dezepher's picture
Dezepher

I had luck with my basic kitchen blender and coffee grinder. I started by collecting VERY dry pods. They snap very crisply and when you bite them you practically break a tooth. I then put a couple handfulls into my blender and processed them about 10-15 seconds. Then I strained the seeds out using a collander and then I further processed everything but the seeds in my coffee grinder. I had to do this 3 tbls. at a time to insure a fine grind but it worked very well! I hope to bake with it in the morning.

I also threw a bunch of pods on the stove and and in the process of trying to make a jam from it.

sabinobabe's picture
sabinobabe

I just came inside from gathering up some pods.  They are really dry BUT I washed them and now I'm going to dry them in the oven all day.  I hope this works and I have a vita mix. So I'm thinking it will??? I need some help with a receipe.  I was just going to use a ww bread receipe and exchange some of the flours out if I don't hear from anyone. Thanks for any ideas.  So excited.  wanted to do this for years.

Becci

etraum's picture
etraum

Hi Becci,

My wife and I just let the pods dry on the ground for several days then pick them up, select out any rocks or debrit we don't want and then grind them in the Vita Mix.  The seeds grind up w/ the pod material but you are left w/ the casings from the seeds which sift out easily.  My wife just replaces any gluten containing flour w/ the mesquite flour and thats it.  This flour makes AWSOME pancakes and scones, bisquites and bread.  She made syrup out of soaked flour slowly simmered in our crock pot but I accidentally tossed it while cleaning out the fridge so we never got to try it. 

This is all so easy that I'm amazed that more people don't do it.  We live in Tempe and have three mesquite trees so we have tons of pods;  almost too much.

Good luck w/ everything.

evanb's picture
evanb

For the past five years I've been exploring the production and use of mesquite bean flour.  Like many people on this forum, I burned up a blender or two and managed to clog up a very good stone mill.  I sent 10 pounds of mesquite beans to what may be the best blender/grinder company in the US to see if any of their machines would do the job--they wrote back and informed me that they would not warranty the machine for mesquite beans.

After an extensive search I finally found a home hammer mill, one produced in Italy.  It's called a Novital and I bought mine through a US company called Premier 1, for about $300.  The 1 HP motor is strong, it's 110 powered, and comes with various size screens and works well.

Also, while I'm here, I have a question.  I'm getting conflicting reports about the milling of the hard central seed.  I've been milling the whole pod, but finding my flour to be a little sharp which I think is due to the hard, brittle seed surface.  I've read that the hard seed is best eliminated for the best flour.  Any advice on this matter?

Thanks for any help you may come up with.  Evan 

 

moodswt's picture
moodswt

It's so much easier just to buy the stuff! It's available here in Tucson at several places but I like to buy it closest to the source at farmer's markets. Anyway, I love it in tortillas but it can add an unusal, sweet-type flavor to any bread. Of course, the moisture content of the recipe needs tweeking. See:  http://www.bajaaz.org/pdf/mesquite-recipes.pdf to get an idea.

 

Christina

Peter Felker's picture
Peter Felker

Good evening

It has been over a year since I looked at this thread and I am sorry for  not responding sooner. It took me about 15 minutes to hack my way back into this site, so I guess I wont be coming back to this site very often.

But we have a new review published in Food reviews international on a complete nutritional profile for mesquite. If you send me an email at

Peter underscore Felker at hotmail dot com I will send  you a free copy,.

For some of the questions

Anj, the number 8 sausage grinder is the one you want to use

For the chlorine question, we use sodium hypochlorite bleach and dilute it one part bleach to 500 parts water. This does a good job of killing bacteria on the surface of the pods. This solution is also used if you are in another country and want to buy lettuce from a farmer and take it home and eat it.  A 5 minute soak in this will kill almost everything.  Climbing up the trees to harvest the pods will take forever, especially since the pods are on the outside of the tree canopy.. Just collect them from the ground every 2-3 days and wash them.

if the pods are stored for very long, seed weevils known as bruchids will burrow into virtually every seed in the pod. You can tell by the little exit holes in the seeds. They probably leave insect excrement in the holes.  So I dont think it is a good idea to grind the whole pods.  Also the leathery capsule that is around the pods, twists but does not break and does not grind up very fine in a hammermill.  This leaves a coarse texture.

If you google casa de Mesquite you can see they sell mesquite flour. You can buy it wholesale by the 28 lb box very reasonably. so it might be a good idea for some of you to go together and buy it by the box.

 

I hope this helps. I probably wont check this site for quite awhile, but please do email me if I can help

 

Peter