Just before the buckthorn cholla cactus flowers in the spring, its buds are hand picked, cleaned of their many thorns and dried for use year-round. Cholla buds are incredibly healthy, fro example, two tablespoons of dried staghorn provides as much calcium as a glass of milk. Because cholla buds contain soluble pectin's, they slow down digestion of sugars and other carbohydrates. The result is better control over blood-sugar level, eliminating the highs and lows. 

Preparation- Basic cooking methods if dried.

  • Place dried buds in a pot and cover them with twice as much water
  • Boil until the water is reduced by half, to just when you can see the buds
  • This should take about an hour 
  • Reduce the heat at this point, and cover the pot
  • Cook until soft (about an hour more)

As a general rule, buds are cooked when the steam end is no longer hard and chewy.

Basic cooking methods courtesy of (FROM I'ITOI'S GARDEN BOOK) Tohono O'odham Food and Traditions.

Recipes- Cholla Bud Salad (Courtesy of Canyon Ranch)

  • 1 cup dried cholla buds
  • 1/4 cup minced, red onions
  • 1/4 cup minced, red bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced, jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tea spoon sea salt

In a large saucepot filled with water, add dried cholla buds and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until buds are soft (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours) Drain cholla buds, chill and chop. Combine all remaining ingredients with chopped buds and toss together.


 Ciolim (Cholla Bud)

          1.6 oz. $5.00

          3.2 oz. $10.00

          4 oz. $15.00

          1 Lb. $45.00

For any questions regarding availability on dry goods contact the 
San Xavier Co-op Farm at (520)-295-3774 ext. 308
 for Shamie (Traditional Foods Coordinator). You may also message via email at sales@sanxaviercoop.org