My harvest went wonderfully, Staghorn and buckhorn cholla are the specific plants used for their buds. I harvested a modest number from multiple plants. You’ll want to wear full length clothes and gloves while harvesting. It is also helpful to stand uphill, upwind etc. to prevent thorns and buds from landing on you. For beauty sake I only removed every other bud, so some could flower and attempt to reproduce.
I then used a short mesquite branch to rake the cholla buds across a 1/4″ metal sifter screen. This a a light raking and removes most of the spines. Next they boil. (See Part 1) I went on to make the following three dishes.(I don’t really use recipes)
Cholla Bud Appetizer
3 cups of cholla buds(boiled and strained)
1/2 stick butter
3 garlic cloves finely diced
soy sauce to taste
1/2 orange squeezed
In a sauce pan combine, warm and serve.
Mango, Cholla bud Salsa
1 mango (chopped)
2 cups cholla buds (boiled and strained)
4 green chiles (roasted, skinned and diced)
1 onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 avocados (chopped)
2 tomatoes (diced)
Chipotle Corn Chowder with cholla buds and black beans.
I cheated on this one I used a organic premade chipotle corn chowder and added cholla buds, black beans and some queso casero (a crumbly Mexican white cheese)
The cholla buds were great. A friend said they were gooey, I quickly retorted: These are the reproductive organs of one of the most formidable things in the desert, they aren’t gooey, those are luxuriously soft flower petals. This is a desert plant that will grace my plate regularly. Remember they can be dried and stored, then rehydrated later!
Randy Young, Southwest Trekking Guide