This is currently some of the best and most consistent dietary information we have been able to find. There is also a very good article in Whole Foods Magazine that you can access at:
The Whole Foods article however deals with flour ground using only the pulpy part of the pod and leaving out the very nutritious beans which is much easier.
At Mesquite Willie's we have developed a process which also utilizes the beans inside the pod and has a high flour yield, leaving only the broken up bean shells and more fibrous parts of the pod as a chaff, which still contains many nutrients and sugars and is used as a supplement to livestock and poultry feed.
We have also been playing around with making some very tasty beer using the chaff as an addition, just to make sure nothing goes to waste, of course.
This more difficult method adds protein and other nutrients such as lysine, an important amino acid, to our flour which we feel is well worth the extra effort.
Another article I ran across recently tells how to make your own mesquite flour using a Vita-Mix Blender or coffee grinder. From previous experience I can tell you this will work to do small batches but be aware the coffee grinder and Vita-Mix blades get the heck beat out of them by the hard seeds inside the pods. The process Andrea uses in this article is similar to ours and will produce good flour. If you wish to try this yourself go to:
Mesquite tree beans nutrition, tartness, sweetness, yield, and overall desirability vary greatly depending on variety, climate, cross pollination, and handling during harvest and processing.
At this time the majority of Mesquite Flour found for sale on line, is ground from Argentine and Peruvian mesquite varieties which tend to be of lower quality according to nutritional information published by reputable importers.
This does not mean they provide a bad product. Some of the products are quite a bit more affordable and have a great flavor. Others have neither.
And just as some in the US do, some importers will mill only the pod portion for its flavorful sweetness and discard the harder to process seed which contains most of the protein and many important nutrients.
Almost all of the corporate spice manufactures, including some that I had used for years, have a product listed as Mesquite (add description) Seasoning. They contain various herbs, spices, and “Natural Mesquite Smoke Flavoring” which tends to be xanthan gum or maltodextrin that has spent some time passing over a heat source containing Mesquite smoke. None contain physical plant parts.
And then there are those on line selling “Mesquite Flour” which is nothing more than 1 lb. of maltodextrin with smoke flavoring added for $19.75, and actually have the gall to list health values as “May help reduce appetite” and “May help regulate blood sugar”.
Maltodextrin has a myriad of uses. It is used as an inexpensive additive to thicken food products, as a filler in sugar substitutes and other products, or as a carbohydrate supplement for bodybuilders and some other athletes.
Those used in Mesquite seasonings tend to have sugars and or sweeteners added to them. It seems there are many different blends used for many different purposes but when listed as an additive to a product they need only be listed as maltodextrin.
Mesquite Meal and Flour: Low Carb, Low Fat, Low Glycemic
The Mesquite bean pods have been a food source since antiquity. They are collected when yellowish brown in color, still hanging from the tree and dry. Mid to late summer is usually the time to harvest, but the beans can be ground at any time and stored as flour or meal. This traditional Native American food is produced by gathering ripened seedpods from the mesquite tree and grinding them into a high protein flour. Mesquite meal is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, protein, and lysine. It has a pleasantly sweet molasses-like nutty flavor with a hint of caramel.
For 2,000 years mesquite was a source of nutrition for Native Americans and indigenous peoples in the arid regions of the earth and used as barter with neighboring tribes.
Medical studies of mesquite have found that despite its sweetness, mesquite flour
(made by grinding whole pods) "is extremely effective in controlling blood sugar
levels" in people with diabetes.
The sweetness comes from fructose, which the body can process without insulin.
In addition, soluble fibers, such as galactomannin gum, in the seeds and pods
slow absorption of nutrients, resulting in a flattened blood sugar curve, unlike
the peaks that follow consumption of wheat flour, corn meal and other common
staples. "The gel-forming fiber allows foods to be slowly digested and absorbed
over a four to six hour period, rather than in one or two hours, which produces a
rapid rise in blood sugar." In addition to its great taste, the major benefits of
mesquite meal include high dietary fiber content, high protein and a high lysine
content. It's also a good source of manganese, potassium and zinc. The result
is a food with the ability to stabilize your blood sugar level. This is very good news
for diabetics, weight watchers and for those who want to eat healthier.
For anyone who uses a meal replacement drink and finds they are hungry long
before lunch time will love mesquite meal. Just add a tablespoon of mesquite meal
to your drink. It will help you stave off hunger for about 4 to 6 hours.
Blending Mesquite with other foods helps to lower the glycemic load of high carb
foods. A high lysine content makes it the perfect addition to other grains that are
unusually low in this amino acid. As flour, it is generally used in combination with
other flours using about 30% mesquite to 70% grain or rice flour. When used as a
flour substitute, or as a condiment, you won't get hungry so fast, as it reduces the
amount of sugar that is stored as fat and prevents blood sugar spikes.
Mesquite meal is great for flavoring steaks, chicken, pork and fish. It can be added
to vegetable stir-fries, scrambled eggs, biscuits, breads, soups, even ice cream. The
list is endless.
Scientific studies have shown that many of these desert plants eaten for food have
fibers that are mucilaginous or like gel, a characteristic that allows them to keep some
water in their dry environment. Other studies have shown that when such fibers were
consumed the digestion was further slowed because it took more energy to break
them down. Sugars would then enter the bloodstream at a steady rate for about four
to six hours. During this time the pancreas of a person who has diabetes may be able
to make sufficient insulin to handle the sugar. The gel from the plants turns into a barrier
between carbohydrates and the enzymes that disintegrate them. In a symbiotic
relationship these slow acting carbohydrates and soluble fibers work together to keep the
body sensitive to insulin and keep blood sugars from greatly rising after one has eaten.
Nutrition Facts Ingredients: 100% natural mesquite meal
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons (15 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 30 Calories from Fat: 2
Sodium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 6 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugar 1 g
Protein 1 g
Pods are quite sweet and whole pod composition is 80% carbohydrate, 13% protein, 25% fiber, and 3% fat .
Not a significant source of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, vitamins A and C, calcium
or iron. They grind the entire mesquite bean (pod) and producea meal that is 11 percent to 17 percent protein.
All of our natural Mesquite Meal and Flour is grown from areas free from irrigation, tilling, pesticides and commercial fertilizers.
Crude protein %.
Digestibility(in vitro) %.
Metabolisible energy MJ/Kg.
0.1 Slightly low.
3 Slightly low.
15 Slightly low.
Prosopis julifera (glandulosa), Prosopis pubescens, and Prosopis velutina
The mesquite tree grows in the desert regions throughout the world, areas not suitable for most agriculture. These trees can be found in the US from central Texas to southeastern California and up in the Utah. On 25% of the planet spices of mesquite, prosopis, can be found growing without any assistance from fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation or capitalization. These trees take little cultivation.
Today, mesquites are found mainly below 5,000' elevation. The mesquite root system is the deepest known, reaching in some rare cases more than 100 feet down, though 90% of the tree's roots are located in the upper 3 feet of soil. This root system gives them a strong competitive advantage in floodplains, where they are by far most commonly found. Where
they occur on dry uplands, they are reduced to small shrubs in size.
Mesquite as medicine: The roots, bark, and leaves are cold and dry in nature. They are
antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent, antiseptic, and antispasmodic.
A powder or tea can be made from any of the above materials for athlete's foot and general fungal infections. This disinfecting wash or powder is wonderful for
mild infections, stings, bites, sores, and scrapes.
The leaves and pods can be made into an eye wash for eye inflammations of all kinds including pinkeye/conjunctivitis. Diarrhea, dysentery, stomach ulcers, dyspepsia,
and most G. I. tract inflammations are soothed and astringed by the leaves, roots,
and bark. The white inner bark is used as an intestinal antispasmodic. Being cooling and drying (astringent) the bark is also useful in stopping excessive menstrual
bleeding and reducing fevers. The powdered leaves at one time were sprinkled on a
newborns umbilical stump to prevent infections. Poulticed, the leaves were used topically for headaches. The young shoots, ground and toasted, were used
to dissolve kidney stones.
The mesquite gum or resin is warmer in nature. It is soothing and tonifying, and provides much of its healing qualities through its natural mucilage
content. Dissolved in water it is used as a G.I. tonic to rehabilitate impaired and abused intestines. It greatly assists intestinal healing after surgery.
After bouts of dysentery, diarrhea, stomach/intestinal distress, and food poisoning,
it is used as a restorative. It also is a wonderful soother to stomach/intestinal pain,
ulcers, colitis, hemorrhoids, sore throats, painful teeth and gums, and mouth
sores. Externally it is equally effective on burned, chapped, and raw skin.
Like the other parts of mesquite the resin is also an eye soother and at one time
was used internally for respiratory problems.
Mesquite for food: The pods may be used in many ways.
One way is by grinding them into flour with a metate or hammer mill or something equivalent and using the meal as you see fit.
The flour can be added to breads, cookies and similar things or it can be eaten by itself. Mesquite pods have lots of natural sugars, protein, calcium, and soluble fiber, which make it a nutritious and tasty food from the desert.
Another method is to
simmer 1 lb. of pods in 1 gallon of water for 30 mins., strain, remove pods and simmer
the liquid until a thicker consistency is achieved. Keep repeating this process with the same pods several times and then switch to new ones if necessary to build up
the volume of sweet mesquite liquid in order to simmer down into syrup.