This is your last chance to gather some mesquite pods this season. While all mesquite trees fruit in the summer, some of the native species have a second fruiting in the fall and you’ll still find a few trees that still have pods. My South American mesquites fruit only in June which is fine with me — the pods taste rather chalky, not sweet like the natives, so I don’t gather them. In Southern Arizona, we are lucky that come November, Desert Harvesters will haul out their hammer mills and grind mesquite pods for a very modest fee. When I first started gathering mesquite in the very early 1970s, this option didn’t exist. I tried a hand cranked grain mill, but it gummed up quickly. If the pods were very dry, a blender ground everything up, but then it had to be sifted and still the meal was very coarse. The hammer mill automatically grinds everything up, sifts out the unuseable fiber, and produces a product that is as fine as whole wheat pastry flour. It also grinds up the true seed where the protein is located. I will post the Desert Harvesters schedule when it comes out.
Stored mesquite pods frequently have holes in them where the bruchid beetles have eaten their way out. If you want to avoid the holes, freeze the pods. I’ve also heard that microwaving them works as well. Once you have your delicious mesquite meal, you can try adding a quarter cup of mesquite meal to your favorite pancake recipe.