The historical line between the hunter-gatherer culture and the emerging Anasazi culture is defined in part by evidence that around 1200 B.C. they began to settle down in one place for longer periods of time and domesticate and cultivate crops from one year to the next.
In the Basketmaker period the primary crop was corn, also known as maize, which is believed to have evolved from teosinte, a wild grass native to what is now Mexico and Central America. At the same time, they were growing squash, which also came from Mexico. Around A.D. 500, beans were added to the Anasazi diet. Pottery, which was supplanting baskets for food storage and cooking, was essential to the beneficial use of this new dietary item because of the bean’s longer cooking time.
The Anasazi often sun dried their vegetables. Many food items were stone-ground, using grinding stones — metate and mano. Seeds were parched in hot coals and ground into meal. Pine nuts were ground into a paste. Corn was ground to make corn meal. Food was stored in large pits, often sealed in baskets or pottery for protection from insects, animals and moisture.
The Anasazi's dry-land farming relied on the natural blessings of rain and the runoff from melting snow. Often they helped Mother Nature by building check dams, terracing hillsides or locating fields near the mouths of arroyos and springs. One of the largest of their water conservation efforts was a 500,000 gallon reservoir at Mesa Verde.
But the Ancient Ones did not abandon the foods of their nomadic forebears. Even in A.D. 1300, corn, squash and beans, alone, would not be enough. They still hunted animals like deer, rabbits and prairie dogs. And they gathered wild plants for sustenance. The nuts of the piñon pine were eaten roasted or ground. They ate the ripe fruit of the banana yucca and dried the red fruit from the prickly pear cactus for later consumption. Pigweed and amaranth provided greens. Source: www.cliffdwellingsmuseum.com (Agriculture and Other Food Sources)
↑A metate or metlatl (or mealing stone) is a type or variety of quern, a ground stone tool used for processing grain and seeds.Metate(English)
↑moisture = Moisture is the presence of a liquid, especially water, often in trace amounts. Small amounts of water may be found, for example, in the air (humidity), in foods, and in some commercial products.