high desert test kitchen
may ingredient: cholla
may 21, 2018 at copper mountain mesa community center



MAY INGREDIENT: CHOLLA (SPP.), CACTACEAE FAMILY

A lot of the plants we feature in the test kitchen are difficult to find or tedious to prepare, but we want this to be a user friendly event, and are excited that this month’s ingredient is neither scarce nor impossible to render edible: cholla! At first glance, cholla may be the most uninviting ingredient of them all. The little branching cacti with tubular arms are evenly coated with conspicuous spikes, and little traveling thorn bundles always find a way of latching onto those in proximity, often targeting the paws of our blithe, four-legged friends. But don’t let this marvelous defense mechanism deter you, because you can safely keep your distance and still reap the benefits of these calcium-packed, blood-sugar-leveling greenies by purchasing them! The buds, which grow on the end of the cholla arms and are harvested before they flower, have been an important piece of traditional diets throughout the Southwest, and kind of resemble a bloated, starchy asparagus tip. To give them a try, contact Sarah to go in on a bulk order, or purchase directly from the San Xavier Co-op, a sustainable farm and economic pillar whose work promotes cultural traditions on the Tohono O’odham nation in Tucson, AZ.

For more information on HDTK, as well as more information on cholla, tips on how to identify it, and other nuggets of info, check out Sarah's website.

Monday, May 21st at 7pm 
Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center
65336 Winters Rd. Joshua Tree, CA


High Desert Test Kitchen (HDTK) is an informal monthly dinner gathering organized by artist Sarah Witt. Participants bring a dish to share that is either made with or inspired by ingredients inhabiting this peculiar span of the North American desert. Exploring the Mojave from a culinary perspective, HDTK naturally intersects with foraging practices and Native American traditions, and inevitably ignites debates concerning ethical human-to-wilderness relationships - hopefully challenging our taste buds too.