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  

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.