These plants have been essential nutritional foods in the diet of all Mexicans for centuries.
Natural, tasty, and healthy foods that work well as a complete meal and are easily found on our streets.
Of the thousands of plants that in pre-Hispanic Mexico were destined for food and medicinal use, there are still a few that are still visible among the inevitable concrete jungle that is constantly expanding.
Many of these plants were and still are considered food by themselves; delicious products of nature with high energy and nutritional content that have managed, with little, to feed an entire people for centuries. Mexico City awaits between its sidewalks, boulevards, gardens, and other spaces destined to green, small thresholds that reveal how the land –the Mexican– has given life to the food that we easily serve ourselves to fulfill a complete meal.
Here are some of the most important:
The nopal is an ancient plant that has fed Mexico practically its entire life. Its hundreds of uses –not only as food or nutritional juice but also as shampoo, soap, cream, and repellent–, coupled with its richness in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, fibers, vitamins (A, B, B2, C, and K), chlorophyll and proteins, make this cactus one of the main elements of the Mexican diet.
Although many do not know it, Colorín has properties similar to those of meat – cooked with salt, onion, and garlic it can also similar to the flavor of beef. Its pods are prepared in mole de olla, roasted, and even in tamales.
An exquisite plant that many of us have tasted weathered and covered in a tomato sauce. In the time of Emperor Moctezuma, it was, together with amaranth, the fourth most important crop, after corn, beans, and chia. In fact, various peoples paid tribute to the Aztec empire in the form of huauzontle.
Have you ever wondered why the bean is so elemental and symbolic of Mexico? At first, this legume can provide the energy necessary to complete a day without the need to give us fat. In fact, it is a food used as a method to lose weight due to its high fiber content.
For every Mexican, avocado is a totally essential addition to every meal. Its high carbohydrate contents make it deserve the title of food since with the simple fact of eating tortilla, salsa, and avocado you could, without a doubt, enjoy a delicious meal.
Although it is not a food that is eaten by itself, it is worth mentioning it because without a doubt its juice is not lacking in every dish of Mexican cuisine. Needless to say, it is also a natural slimming product and a great booster for the immune system.
Corn is probably the most important food of all. It was widely venerated in multiple rites and used daily. In the ‘semi-rural’ areas, for example, Milpa Alta, some inhabitants maintain the ancient custom of planting them in full view of passersby. Interestingly, despite its explosive urbanization, corn plants still sprout unexpectedly around Mexico City.