In the Southwest the Hualapai and Pima harvested the unopened flower buds of buckhorn cholla with two long sticks. The sticks were used to grab the mature buds and twist them off into a large flat basket or bucket. The spines are then removed prior to cooking. Traditionally the buds were baked in an earthen pit, lined with stones, and heated with mesquite (Prosopis velutina) firewood. Then the buds were eaten right away or dried and stored for future use. Pima individuals who had stomach troubles were put on a special diet of these buds made into gruel. Some individuals still gather buckhorn cholla today.
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