from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Mexican metal., native carbonate of soda mixed with some sulphate and common salt, which effloresces, after the rainy season, on the surface of the plains in Mexico, and later in the season forms a crust.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
My Pequeño Larousse says tequesquite is salitre, which translates as saltpeter.
Its origin goes back to 1650, when a small village was established at the border of a spring where the natives extracted "tequesquite" and planted sesame and corn; etymologically it is a Nahuatl word meaning "Place of Tequesquite or Lime", because previously it was a salpetrous plain that after some time was covered by water.
This process, called nixtamalization, uses either wood ash or slaked calcium hydroxide, called cal or tequesquite ( "builder's lime" in English) to soak the corn kernels and soften their often-tough outer skin.
I think your ash or tequesquite may well be a version of this.
MexConnect. com Forums: Specific Focus: Mexican Kitchen: Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite
I have a recipe for some cookies that calls for ceniza (ash) or in its absence tequesquite.
_tequesquite_, and regularly collected by the Indians.