The Tohono O’odham pick ciolim (cholla buds) in their lunar calendar month of Su’am Maṣad - “Yellow Month” - which falls around April. Traditionally, the buds are then dried so that they can be stored all year. Buds are then soaked and rehydrated before cooking.
- The tiny flower buds of cholla cactus taste like asparagus and are extremely nutritious.
- A two-tablespoon helping has as much calcium as a glass of milk, and the mucilage they contain is reported to help balance blood-sugar levels.
- They will readily absorb the flavors of whatever they are cooked with.
- Terrific in antipastos, chiles, salads and sautées, use them as you would artichoke hearts or asparagus tips.
- Cooking instructions included.