In the early years food was looked at as nothing more than a means for survival. It kept people alive, and ensured that their bodies would be strong enough to carry on. In addition, because hunting was the only way to acquire food it was considered a valuable commodity. Though food is no longer given the respect that it should, Native Americans still acknowledge the importance of food for the body and mind. Native American recipes usually consist of pure ingredients to keep the body and mind nourished and balance.
Most Native American recipes incorporate corn into the dish. Besides the traditional ears of corn, Blue Corn or Meal Harinilla was used to bake and cook starchy foods. Cactus is another unusual, but natural ingredient in many Native American recipes. It is usually served with sage, cabbage, and wild grains. In addition many Native American recipes will include herbal plants such as peppermint, clover, and spearmint.
Native American recipes have also widely incorporated wild and domesticated plants. For example, many popular foods include plums, cherries, blueberries, and grapes. Nuts are another commonly used ingredient in Native American recipes, especially hazelnuts, acorns, beechnuts, and walnuts.
Native American dishes also commonly incorporate seeds into their recipes. Seeds are known for their nutritional value and are often thought to have medicinal uses. The shoots of plants are also commonly boiled and cooked with spices and meats to make a traditional Indian meal.
When it comes to meat, dear is a Native American favorite. However, they also include mutton, prairie dog, rabbit, buffalo, and beaver in some of their most popular recipes. Also, fish is widely used in Native American dishes. Also included in their diet are crabs, mussels, squid, and wild geese.
When it comes to dessert many Native American recipes utilize honey as a sweetener. However, dried fruits and syrup are also popular.