Whole Life Magazine

October / November 2018

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Page 8 of 31

Photos: Courtesy of Las Pilitas Cactus. The fruit that forms at the very ends of the pads is called "tuna." When ripe (deep red color), they make a deli- cious jelly or a sweet raw dessert. One of the nice things about Prickly Pear is that you can harvest both the pads and the fruit without destroying the plant. That way there is always more Prickly Pear for tomorrow! You can gently pull the fruit (tuna) off. Pads can be removed by snapping a pad at the joint. It is wise to pick young tender pads, but not the young- est, as they have more spines. But what about those spines? Native Cali- fornians mastered a good system for removing them, and you could, too. Some people recommend wearing heavy work gloves. But my trick works better: Use a paper bag. Seriously! Put a paper bag on your hand like a glove when touching prickly pear and the spines cannot get to you! Next, to prepare for cooking, you can re- move the spines by scraping with a knife. Pads of nopales are high in iron, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and calcium. The deep red color of the fruit means it is high in antioxidants. Nopales and tuna would have been a very nutritious choice for the Tongva people, as it is for us. Today, Prickly Pear Cactus has many uses: raw and cut up in salads, sautéed, breaded and then fried, boiled, tossed in soup, or pickled. I myself have harvested Prickly Pear often from my chaparral garden, and especially enjoy making Nopales Ta- cos, a completely meatless dish. Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium californicum or album) are one of the best-known wild edible greens, with a taste like spinach. Archeological evidence suggests it has been foraged for some 9,000 years and cultivated for 4,000 years. Before the Europeans came, this was another one of the many plants that would have sustained the indigenous peoples of California. Lamb's Quarters are high in protein, iron, and vi- tamins A & C. The wild plant makes prolifi c seeds, which can also be ground into a dark fl our for making bread, "mush," or tortillas. Long before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans lived well off California's edible fl ora, which was bountiful. They lived in a balanced way, maintaining the land. Edible landscapes were everywhere! Autumn is harvest time, and at Thanksgiving we are thankful for the bounty of food on our table. But, I also want to take a moment to be thankful for the bounty of knowledge about edible native plants left to us by the Native Americans who came before us. In California, edible native plants still thrive in wild places. Nature gave them to us, free for the taking. Each of us can add edible native plants to our native plant gardens, and enjoy the Autumn harvest season, sharing our bounty with our wildlife friends. Be sure to check the local native nurs- eries in your area and see what they have for your edible native garden. city of angels by Deva Premal Released October 12, 2018 A Transcendent Collection of Signature Mantras that are Medicine for the Soul. "Another sacred treasure, fi lled with mantras vibrating essence. Deva Premal's offerings change the world, as the sound track of our lives – an immersion in her transforming love. Sonic healing at the highest." Shiva Rea M.A. [Yogini & World-Renowned Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher] DevaPremalMiten.com New Album October/November 2018 9

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