The Mesquite tree may look intimidating with its twisted limbs and long thorns, but don’t be scared off by this helpful tree! Mesquite has a delicious, caramel-like taste and is often used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour, or even as a sweetener!
A great source of dietary fiber, Mesquite also contains vital nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. Mesquite may help maintain blood sugar and blood pressure levels already within the normal range.
Also commonly known as kiawe (kee-a-vey), the Mesquite tree (Prospis pallida) is a spreading species native to South America and now naturalized in other warm climates like Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Australia. Mesquite is a fast-growing and long-lived tree, with the ability to survive for over a thousand years! With its long taproot, Mesquite can withstand soil conditions that most other plants cannot – sometimes even causing surrounding plants to die off by sucking all the water out of the ground.
Tall and poised, this tree provides ample shade. However, the thick branches often sport large spines, which can be dangerous for passersby if dead branches have fallen to the ground. The Mesquite tree bears yellowish flowers and long, seed-filled pods, which are the most commonly utilized component of this hardwood tree.
Mesquite has many uses, which include livestock feed and firewood, and it is even used in brewing beer! The fuzzy flower spikes lend their flavor to Mesquite honey and the wood is often used in barbeque for a distinct taste favored in the South.
The Mesquite pods can be ground into a flour or powder which is said to have various health benefits and, best of all, a nutty and sweet flavor which lends itself well to smoothies and desserts. Mesquite pods are also used in molasses production.
Mesquite powder is gluten-free, high in bioavailable protein, with a low glycemic index. This highly nutritious substance also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in lysine, an amino acid. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.
Research suggests that consumption of Mesquite may help reduce the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar in some individuals. Further evidence also shows that it may help maintain blood pressure levels already within the normal range.
Mesquite powder made from the pods is now increasingly being used in nutritional supplements and other health products.