What Kinds of Food Did the Anasazi People Eat?

The early Anasazi were nomads, living off the land by hunting small animals and foraging for edible plants. Archaeologists discovered that the Anasazi people began to live in more permanent villages in about 1200 B.C. They started to farm corn, crossbreeding varieties that came from Mexico to find a strain that would survive in their territory. Squash, and later beans, were added to the diet. The latter was around 500 A.D., after the Anasazi started cooking with clay pots.

Corn was the most versatile food, often ground up using a mortar and pestle, called metate and mano in the Anasazi language. They used corn meal to make porridge or their version of the tortilla, and often combined corn and beans in a soup. They used chillies for flavor, and dried and cooked pine nuts. To keep food fresh longer, they stored it in pots, baskets or in deeply dug pits. This also kept it free from insect and animal predation and moisture.

Meat was still part of the diet. The Anasazi used different types of spears and snares to bring down deer, rabbits and prairie dogs. They foraged wild plants, such as fruits from the prickly pear cactus and the yucca plant. They used Pigweed as a leafy green vegetable, eating the leaves raw or cooked, and roasting the seeds, or grinding them into a cereal-like texture.