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How To Bring More Native American Ingredients To Your Thanksgiving Menu

Consider adding other Native American ingredients and techniques for your Thanksgiving table.

Courtesy of Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Native American cuisine is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance, with young chefs from across the country shining a light on their ancestor’s cuisines. Since November is Native American Heritage Month and Thanksgiving approaches, it makes sense to learn about indigenous cooking techniques and enjoy native ingredients that still nourish tribal peoples across the country.

While pumpkin, green beans, cranberries and turkey are staples in most households, others have been overlooked and, in some cases, nearly forgotten. Salmon, corn, blueberries, maple syrup, wild rice, mesquite, mushrooms and a variety of nuts and acorns are among the most important and nutritious ingredients used for centuries by Native Americans. Why not incorporate these into our holiday tables?

Beyond turkey and cranberries

At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, executive chef Ray Naranjo (Pueblo of Santa Clara, Odawa) believes in the preservation of foodways and ancestral knowledge of his people and strives to follow these paths. With roots in the Ancestral Pueblos of the Southwest and the Three Fires tribes of the Great Lakes, Naranjo is behind the initiative to re-imagine the center’s Pueblo Harvest Restaurant as the Indian Pueblo Kitchen, an innovative teaching kitchen and restaurant centered around indigenous cuisine and education. It will also provide entrepreneurs, food truck operators and Native American food artisans with access to a commercial greenhouse and kitchen.

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