The covered pit. An Apache woman loads a final basketful of dirt over the mound now covering the baking pit. The layers of dirt seal the heat inside the oven in which the plant bulbs will bake for 12 to 24 hours. When the bulbs are removed, they will be fire-blackened, but moist and tender. After drying and cleaning, they will be ready to eat. Agave and other desert plant hearts are high in carbohydrates, providing an important energy food for native peoples over thousands of years.
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