Living Off the Land in the Sonoran Desert
Having grown up as a Boy Scout, and an avid camper, I have always loved being outdoors. Since I was in my early teens I have loved the idea of surviving in the desert, almost as a mountain man. I read countless survival guides, and I came to learn that there are more edible foods in the deserts of Arizona than in the forests of Washington State. In this paper, I will discuss some of the tips that I have read and complied for living off the land in the harsh climate of the Sonoran Desert! Not only can one survive in this climate, but you can harvest a bountiful crop of what the desert is already providing for us.
The Sonoran Desert has amazing plants, which provide a lot of edible foods for humans and animals, and is like living on a garden or farm, without having to plant or water anything! The desert’s plants tolerate a lot more things than other plants in the U.S. can. For example, in Arizona cacti survive with way less water from rain than plants in other states because they store water in their flesh when it rains. They tolerate very high heat (over 100º in the summer), plus cold weather in the winter (low temperature in the 40s and sometimes falling below 32º).
So many of them are edible that they allowed the indigenous people to live off the land easily. For example, the most popular food is the fruit (which is a pod) from the mesquite trees. The pods can be eaten when they are fresh (although the seeds inside are too hard for people to chew, as are parts of the pods) by horses, dogs, pack rats and people! But they are better harvested when they dry out in the summer, and start to fall off the trees. They can be baked at a low temperature (225º for 20 minutes) to further dry them, and then be ground in a food processor or blender into mesquite flour (meal), which is sweet and delicious (has a caramel, chocolate or sugar flavor). Although it tastes sweet, it is low in sugar...