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Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I went for a short amble this morning with one of the dogs and one of the cats. The sky was overcast, which is very unusual.  Every day for weeks now has been sunny.  It stayed chilly much longer this morning, since the sun wasn't out to warm things up as it usually does.

A few things I saw on my walk:

Juniper berries, which despite their name, are actually cones.  These are edible, though pretty pungent.  Don't eat them when they're green; wait until they turn bluish-purple like this:

Juniper berry close up--mature berries

Juniper berries--immature

The Prickly Pear cactuses were fantastic:  I love the range of colors,from green to purple, and the textures of the pads.  Notice, too, the color range, from yellow to red, in the spines, and the stunning number of brochids, the tiny bristles that cluster together.  Prickly pear fruit (not shown here) and pads (shown below) are edible, though you need to remove the spines and brochids before eating.  Also, select pads that aren't all wrinkly like the first two pictured below.  Smooth and green is the way to go. 

Prickly Pear pad, close up

Prickly Pear pad

Prickly Pear pad, with spines and brochids

Prickly Pear pad, spines

Prickly Pear pad, spines and brochids

I also saw some Cholla cactuses.  These critters are dangerous.  If you so much as brush against them, the end pieces break off and embed themselves in your flesh or clothing.  The dried sections of the cactus are beautiful. Notice their grain patterns. The end pieces change color as the fall progresses, from green to bright yellow, to brown.  From what I've read, you don't want to eat Chollas, if for no other reason than they taste bad--super bitter.

Dried Cholla Cactus section; note the "grain" 

Cholla Cactus with live and dead segments 

Dried Cholla Cactus segment

Looks like a Cholla pipe

Cholla "hip;"  the end segment that remains after the plant flowers

The rocks around here are covered with lichen of many colors:  white, yellow, green, orange.

Somehow some cat belly fur managed to make it into this lichen picture.  

And finally, my walk companions:

The lady with the belly fur who managed to sneak into one of my lichen pictures...

My beautiful, blind hound, who has memorized the track of this particular amble

Views: 99

Tags: Mexico, New, desert, foraging, plants

Comment by Jennifer on November 5, 2012 at 11:07am

Wow! I almost feel like I'm there—and wish I were, although your pictures are a pretty amazing substitute. Thanks for sharing them. Have you tried de-spining any more cactus? Any luck?

Comment by MisAnthrope on November 7, 2012 at 12:37pm

Thanks, Jennifer!  I've put the de-spining on hold.  I'm now learning to make bread.  

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