Native American Food

The three staples of Native American food are corn, squash, and beans.

Native American Foods

The three staples of Native American food are corn, squash, and beans. Other foods that have been used widely in Native American culture include greens, Deer meat, berries, pumpkin, squash, and wild rice.

The Native Americans are well revered for being resourceful people, and when it comes to Native American food, there is no difference. They were well versed at using the ingredients that were readily available to them and for making many different foods with them. Corn and various corn products are abundant in Native American food recipes and they have lent many of their earliest delicacies to the American culture as a whole.

Corn is such a big staple in Native American culture that not only do they frequently cook with corn as we know it, but they also use what’s known as Harinilla, or Blue Corn Meal. Harnilla can be ground into flour and used for baking tortillas and other starches.

Native American food also consists of the resourceful use of meat. Besides deer, the Native Americans frequently ate rabbits, Prairie dog, Beaver, Lamb, Buffalo, Mutton, and Pork. Using wild grains and vegetables was also commonplace in the Native American diet and along with squash; sage, wild onions, cabbage, pumpkins, and cactus played a vital role in Native American food.

Along with the staples and animal sources, herbs also played a vital role in early Native American food. Many of the earliest forms of medicine were derived from these food sources as well. The Native Americans were masters at making poultices, teas, and herbal remedies. They used herbs and plants such as Peppermint, Spearmint, Clover, Sage, and Rosehips to make teas and other foods. Today’s society and culture owes much of what it has learned about food and the natural American resources to the early Native Americans.

Try Out a New Indian Food Dish

Depending on where the tribe came from would usually depend on the different foods that were eaten.

Indian Taco

Farming and agriculture, along with hunting, were very important parts of Indian life. The food eaten was from the earth, and none of it was wasted. Depending on where the tribe came from would usually depend on the different foods that were eaten. Indians from the plains would often hunt and eat buffalo.

Every part of the buffalo was used, from the bones to the meat to the hide. The skin and fur made excellent coverings for living and traveling in the cold snow, and the food was delicious. Buffalo stew was often made, as well as buffalo meat seared over an open fire. For the Indians such as the Eskimo, seal and whales were often eaten. For each tribe, animal parts were always utilized in some shape or form. The bones could be used as weapons, and the hides as drums.

Other examples of Indian food would be the fruits and vegetables that were both harvested and grown. Corn, or maize, is a very common food that was grown and consumed by the Native Americans. Berries of all kinds that were found in the woods were also eaten. Even melons and pears were choice foods of the Indians. Beans and squash were grown, and mushrooms were harvested. The Indians would also eat various game birds, fish such as salmon, and nuts. Their diet was very well balanced and healthy, and everything was eaten purely and naturally.

Today, there are a great deal of wonderful recipe books that can be found on Indian food. The tradition of Indian cooking lives on among family members and friends, and there is even a special food pyramid designed especially for the Native American to be sure they are getting the nutrition they need. Food has always been an integral part of the Indian way of life, and the traditional recipes can be shared for many generations to come.

American Indian Recipes

Many tribes, such as the Lakota, have handed down Indian food recipes from one generation to another.

Buffalo Meat

Many tribes, such as the Lakota, have handed down Indian food recipes from one generation to another. The Lakota were also known by the name of Sioux. A nomadic tribe, they only hunted and ate grass-eating animals. This was because they believe in the circle of life and when they died; their bodies became grass to feed the animals.

Buffalo meat has more protein and less fat than beef. It also has less cholesterol, yet a mere four ounces provides more protein than a half a dozen eggs. Wasna, because of the protein it contains, can raise a person’s iron level within 15 minutes. Today’s Lakota believe that their ancestors did not suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or cancer due to the healing powers of Wasna.

The Lakota diet was high in protein and often the tribe either had much food to eat, such as after they killed a buffalo, or very little. One of the traditional Indian food recipes that the Lakota have passed through the generations was Wasna. Wasna is a Lakota word with the "wa" meaning "anything" and the "sna" meaning ground up, although non-Lakota people refer to it as pemmican. This dish consisted of dried buffalo, dried berries, and fat or bone marrow. The Lakota’s would grind the ingredients together with a pounding stone. Wasna was a very good source of protein and the Lakota valued this traditional recipe not only as a food, but also as a healing instrument. Therefore, Wasna is often seen as a sacred food and was often used in ceremonies and rituals.

Another of the Indian food recipes that is a favorite is Lakota plum cakes. This recipe included dark raisins, purple plums, toasted hazelnuts, butter, flour, baking soda, cloves, honey, and maple syrup.

If you want to learn more about Indian food recipes the Lakota used in the past and still use today, there are many books available on the subject.

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