Some of you know that I recently came back from a mission trip from Arizona. We stayed on the Tohono O'odham reservation in Sells partnering with a missionary couple who live right on the reservation.
Among many of the blessings I've received one thing I was able to take away this year was something unique to the Tohono O'odham Native Americans. It's called Saguaro Syrup made from the flower that blossoms on the Saguaro cacti.
Taken from http://ablogtoread.com
Making the syrup is not only a crazy long process but it's not done by a lot of people anymore. The lovely lady who made it, Liz, told us very briefly about the process which starts with her waking up at around 3 or 4 in the morning to drive out to Tucson (which is about an hour away from Sells) to harvest the fruit. Here is a bit more detailed description of the fruit and the processing of it.
Taken from http://arizona-cactus.com/
The fruit is harvest using this really long wooden tool. The Saguaro cacti are pretty tall so it's not a matter of simply picking the fruit off.
Taken from http://amazingarizona.com
If I remember correctly, after the fruit is harvested, Liz takes the fruit mashes it and boils it with water for about a few hours. Then she strains it and boils the remaining liquid for a few more hours until it becomes a syrup.
Because this old tradition is becoming more and more sparse Liz charges about $40 for a pint. That's right... A PINT. And that's a cheaper price. A local gift shop sells it for $10 an ounce.... AN OUNCE. But because of the recession, they've lowered it down to $8. Yeah.. pretty insane. Liz was kind enough to let some of us have it for $25. My first thought when a friend talked about buying it to help support Liz (who was going through some financial difficulty) was, "OooOoOooooH!!! Maybe I can make cupcakes or cookies out of it!!"
One pint is not nearly enough to be experimenting with, let me just tell you right now. It's over if you mess up even once. So you can imagine the stress I was under to not only create something absolutely delicious but also not screw up in the process.
Let me spare you the suspense.. I messed up... TWICE!!! And now I don't have any more of the syrup to try again.
More on my attempts at making the first ever Saguaro Cupcakes next time. Sorry to break up the flow but my room is still a huge mess and the house is under constant fixing. Thanks for understanding!!!