Author Topic: CACTUS Recipes  (Read 6040 times)

Yowbarb

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CACTUS Recipes
« on: October 08, 2011, 04:50:57 AM »
I have bought nopalitos in the grocery store. I really like them.
Will be posting some info on seeds ordering, in the SEEDS Topic.
- Barb Townsend
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http://www.wikihow.com/How-to-Eat-Prickly-Pear-Cactus 

How to Eat Prickly Pear Cactus

Edited byBo and 37 others

Ingredients

    Nopales (prickly pear pads)
    Prickly pear (the fruit of the cactus)
    Pepper, salt, other spices

Prickly pear cactus has been a staple of the Mexican and Central American diet for thousands of years. In parts of the U.S. it has been gaining popularity as an exotic, gourmet and healthy addition to one's diet. The prickly pear plant has two different edible sections: the pad of the cactus (nopal), which can be treated like a vegetable, and the pear (tuna), which can be treated like a fruit. They grow wild throughout the American southwest, down to South America and up to Canada. The ones you may find at a local store or farmers market will surely originate from a commercial nopal farm.

Pads or Nopales

    Buy or forage some prickly pear pads. See Warnings. There's a reason it's called the prickly pear cactus.

        Find pads that are bright green and firm.
        Small, young pads harvested in early spring are thought to be the most succulent, delicate in flavor, and have the fewest spines. The thicker a pad, the older it is. Older pads tend to be stringy and their sap will be thicker, which some people find unpleasant. Leave those for other species who use them as survival food during lean foraging seasons. The tender pads are sometimes sold as "baby nopales".
        If you're harvesting them yourself, wear extremely heavy gloves or use tongs. Snap the pads off the plant or cut at the stem. Cutting at the stem reduces stress on the pad, and allows the cactus to recover more quickly than snapping or tearing the pad away. This helps keep your cactus plant healthy for future harvests.
    Remove the spines from the pad by using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Don't take off the gloves until the pads are completely rinsed and the peeled remnants are cleared. The pads not only have large spines, but there are also tiny, invisible and far more irritating spines called glochids that are extremely difficult to remove from the skin. The spines and glochids can also be removed from the prickly pear pads by burning them off with a small torch or by placing the pad on a gas burner and turning it with tongs. See Warnings.
    Run the pad under cool water. Peel or cut off any discolorations or bruises.
    Slice or cut the pads (wipe the knife blade after each slice, as there can be small spines sticking to it), or leave them whole, depending on what you will be using the nopales for.
    Cook the nopales. They can be either boiled or grilled, as well as mixed with other ingredients to make unique, satisfying and healthy dishes.

If you boil the nopales, you may sometimes have to drain and re-boil them once or twice, depending on how thick the sap is. The thicker the pad, the thicker the sap.
Boiling them with a copper coin (an old Mexican "veinte") is a common remedy to thin the sap and make it more palatable to unaccustomed diners.
The boiled nopales are then drained, washed off with cold water and served as a salad with finely diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeños and seasoned with vinegar, salt and lime juice.
If you grill the nopales, you might want to coat generously with pepper, salt, and other spices. They're ready when they're tender and slightly browned.
Grilled nopalitos strips can be seasoned with fresh lime juice and a little olive oil. You can also add grilled portobello mushrooms to the mix.
Nopalitos salad
Nopalitos salad
Try stirring the cooked nopales into soup, mixing them into a salad or omelet, pickling them, or eating them alone.

        A popular and traditional Mexican dish is "nopalitos en salsa verde", where the nopales are cut in strips and boiled in water (see above), and then re-cooked in the traditional sauce made of tomatillos (which are sometimes mistaken for green tomatoes, but are actually a completely different fruit that grow in a papery husk), onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño chiles (puree the sauce ingredients in a blender and then bring to a boil and simmer). This is usually eaten in a soft tortilla as a taco or with chips.

Prickly Pear

    Buy or harvest some prickly pears.

        The pears with the reddish-orange or purple skin and deep purple interiors are considered to be the sweetest, but the white-skinned varieties are more popular in Mexico.
        Store-bought prickly pears are usually spine-free and sometimes can be handled with your bare hands. Unprocessed pears still have glochids that will drive you crazy if you get some on your skin. Just to be sure, always use tongs or at least a plastic bag as a glove.
        If you're foraging for prickly pears, remember that while all pears are edible, only a few will actually be ripe and taste good. Get them when they are bright purple and look like varment food, just before starting to wrinkle.
    Remove the spines.
        Place the pears in a plastic colander five or six at a time under cold water. Swirl the pears around for about three or four minuets not brusing them. Doing this washes all the fine blond hairs away, now you can handle them PRICKLY FREE!!!!!!
    Skin the pears.

        All the hairs gone slice off the thicker skin at both ends of the prickly pear (the bottom and the top). It takes a little practice to know how much to slice off. Generally, you want to take off the skin without getting at the seed-filled center.
        Cut lengthwise along the pear's top-bottom centerline just through the skin. Using that slit, use the knife to lever the skin and peel it off of the rest of the pear.
    Cut the pear into slices, or stick onto a fork or skewer and serve.

        Prickly pear sorbet
        Prickly pear sorbet
        The flesh of the prickly pear can be used to make jam, jelly, sorbet, wine, and "cactus candy.

The seeds can be consumed with the fruit (but be careful not to bite into them, as they're quite hard) or spit out.
Some people eat the seeds in soup or dry them to be ground into flour.

TIPS FOR COOKING NOPALES CACTUS, NEXT POST.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 05:13:34 AM by Yowbarb »

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 04:58:49 AM »
I had some prickly pear fruit once, when we were on a family trip in the desert.
Being a youngster, with no one showing me how to eat it,   I wasn't so adept at avoiding the pricklies. I managed to eat quite a lot of the fresh fruit; really like it.
- Barbara Lou Townsend
Topic Administrator
.............................................................
http://www.wikihow.com/How-to-Eat-Prickly-Pear-Cactus 

Tips from WikiHow article:

    The cooked pads have a flavor comparable to green beans. They also have a texture reminiscent of okra, which some people find unpleasant, and others find enticing. This quality is exaggerated if the nopales are overcooked.
    You can usually buy pads 20 cm long (classified as a small pad) or a pear 10 cm long (classified as medium). Anything longer proves difficult to prepare.
    To store nopales in the refrigerator, make sure they are fresh and unwrinkled. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Nopales can be stored for up to two weeks.
    Prickly pears are eaten not only in the United States and Mexico, but also in the Mediterranean and in European countries. In Italy, the fruit is often presented in a bowl of cold water and in Malta, it is customary to chill the fruit for a couple of hours in the refrigerator before serving.
    The flavor of prickly pears has been compared to kiwi, but not as acidic.
    In some cases the glochids can be removed most easily by rubbing against a piece of heavy cloth (such as an old serape) that's used for no other purpose. And this article indicates that Native Americans rubbed "beavertail" pads in the sand to remove the glochids, but rather than "sand" it was more likely the hard-packed sandy dirt of the American Southwest.
    Purchase your first pads. Don't harvest them yourself. Then you will know what to look for.
    If you get the fine spines stuck in your skin, don't bother with tweezers. Instead put a thin layer of Elmer's glue over the spines. Let the glue dry until there is a solid "skin" on your hand, then peel it off. The spines will peel off painlessly with the glue. (This also works for removing splinters.) The glochids actually are barbed and will work into your skin if you are not careful. If you don't have Elmer's glue handy, and the glochids become very annoying, duct tape or strong tack masking tape can remove them.
    If you work with cacti regularly, you may well find the glochids are only a minor annoyance, and that the itchiness is only intermittently noticeable. However, the glochids of some of the Opuntia are larger than the spines of some of the other species. The glochids of the Opuntia Engelmanii v. Texensis in particular can be very, very painful, as can the spines. Gloves are still recommended, however, .....[more on page]
   

To learn more about the nutritional benefits and value of prickly pear cactus, look into the External Links below.
    If grilling on an open fire the spines will also burn off. This can also be used to feed livestock on a short term basis.

    Spines
    Be very careful when removing the spines from the plant, or buy pads or pears that are already de-spined.
    If harvesting your own plants, always wear hand protection.
    Some species of prickly pear cactus don't have spines, but all have glochids.
    Unless you wear extremely heavy gloves, it's best to handle the pads with tongs or some other "remote" device.
    Beware pear cactus can poke thorns through you and hurt really bad.

Related wikiHows

How to Grow Prickly Pears:  http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Prickly-Pears


Sources and Citations

Health Benefits of Prickly Pear Cactus: 
http://www.nopalexport.com/healthbenefits.htm

Background of Prickly Pear Cactus, with a Nutritional Facts and Servings Table:
http://www.sedonavisions.com/prickly_pear.htm
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 05:16:24 AM by Yowbarb »

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2011, 06:51:07 AM »
Muy Bueno Cookbook

Licuado de Nopal (Cactus Smoothie)
by muybuenocookbook on January 7, 2011

"Over Christmas I met a new friend Ania at a posada and we were talking nopales. I know, weird party conversation right, nonetheless it happened. She was telling me about a licuado de nopal that she drinks every morning. Her skin is radiant and she is super thin even after having had twins, so of course I have started drinking this new drink as a healthy resolution for 2011."
My hubby and I have been drinking this juice every morning for one week now. I’m amazed that he wanted to try this with me. I have not lost any weight, but I do feel less bloated; sorry, that might be TMI. I wanted to give some type of testimonial and that’s all I got. I have a feeling once I stop snacking in the evening on fresh salsa and tortilla chips that I might lose weight. I’ll report again in one more week after I try harder with the rest of my 'diet'." ~ Yvette

Makes: 2 drinks

Ingredients


½ cup nopal (cactus pads cleaned, spines removed), julienned

1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 cup water

Crushed ice (optional)

Directions

Ania stores the julienned nopal in snack bags in the freezer. To make one smoothie she uses only half the bag of nopal.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend. If you want it to be less chunky then blend longer and or add more water.

Drink this smoothie every morning before you eat anything else. This juice is rich in fiber, helps speed up your metabolism, and helps eliminate grease and toxins.

This cactus smoothie is choc-full of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and B, cleanses the liver and colon and provides an uber-rich source of fiber and hydration.

The nopal cactus is a plant native to the mountains of Mexico. It has been used since ancient times as both a food and for its medicinal and health benefits. Read about the incredible health benefits here.

This smoothie is supposed to be great for overeating and hangovers too!

For best results, drink this juice for seven days straight.


Super delicioso, jaja mentiras!

Cheers to a healthy year! Salud!

Photography by Jeanine Thurston

Pssst…don’t forget to order the 2011 Muy Bueno Calendar here.
https://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=9665002


Images:

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2011, 07:19:56 AM »
I'm going to post this whole article in the Topic, Articles on various medicinal foods

LINK: http://planetxtownhall.com/index.php?action=post;topic=384.0;last_msg=7586-
- Barbara Lou Townsend
   Topic Administrator
......................................................
EHow
http://www.ehow.com/about_5422329_nopal-cactus-health-benefits.html

Nopal Cactus Health Benefits
The Nopal cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica), also known as "prickly pear," is a plant native to the mountains of Mexico. It has been used since ancient times as both a food and as a medicine for its health benefits. The Aztecs considered the cactus, which derives some of its properties from the volcanic soil in which it grows, as a food fit for royalty and a fortifying substance for warriors. A powdered form of Nopal has become popular in modern times as a treatment for a variety of metabolic, digestive and heart problems.
....................

terrypat

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2011, 09:17:26 AM »
Thank you for posting this. I will be on the look out for this type of cactus around here.
You have been telling people that this is the 11th hour.

Now you must go back & tell people  this  is  "The Hour" .

The Elders , Oraibi Arizona, Hopi Nation

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2011, 03:40:46 PM »
Thank you for posting this. I will be on the look out for this type of cactus around here.

Terrypat  let us know if you have it where you are. That would be great!
The WikiHow article says it grows wild all throughout the American southwest as well as Mexico and up to Canada.
You know, this is an interesting plant. It would be a good steady supply of a type of green vegetable - and the fruit too.  I have not prepared it, but I love the jars of nopalitos. I served them once with rye krisp, crackers, cheese, sardines. A lot of the family liked it.
I have probably had it growing where I lived in a few places in southern Ca and not noticed much...
In wikipedia it says it is cultivated in parts of South America, Israel, Mexico etc. Grew out of control in Australia. It can grow so fast and so dense it can crowd out farms... It has been used to mark boundaries and create fences. I suppose people know some way to keep the fence lines straight, and not let the cactus grow to cover the land...
Israel:
In Israel, the cactus fig is called tzabar (Hebrew: צבר‎) similar to and derived from the Arabic 'saber'. This is also the origin of the term sabra used to describe for Jew born in Israel.[32] The prickly pear cactus has been used for centuries both as a food source and a natural fence that keeps in livestock and marks the boundaries of family lands. They are incredibly resilient and often grow back. The cactus is called 'saber' in Arabic, which also means 'tenacity'.[ Opuntia, Wikipedia ]

I posted this article in a post farther (above) along with recipes... more lata. - Yowbarb
Link below:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.wikihow.com/How-to-Eat-Prickly-Pear-Cactus   WikiHow How To Eat Pricky Pear Cactus

Prickly pear cactus has been a staple of the Mexican and Central American diet for thousands of years. In parts of the U.S. it has been gaining popularity as an exotic, gourmet and healthy addition to one's diet. The prickly pear plant has two different edible sections: the pad of the cactus (nopal), which can be treated like a vegetable, and the pear (tuna), which can be treated like a fruit. They grow wild throughout the American southwest, down to South America and up to Canada. The ones you may find at a local store or farmers market will surely originate from a commercial nopal farm.
 taco or with chips.
[Continues]

terrypat

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2011, 09:05:05 PM »
I book marked the page ... Thanks
You have been telling people that this is the 11th hour.

Now you must go back & tell people  this  is  "The Hour" .

The Elders , Oraibi Arizona, Hopi Nation

terrypat

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2011, 05:18:29 PM »
Funny thing. I was driving to Wally World today, low & behold there I am around the corner 2 blocks from the home & wham-o ... There is an overgrown cactus in a persons yard with those long ears. Hmmm. Also there are fairly large red buttons on the plant for jam. I may go knock on the persons door & see if they would be willing to part with some ears & red buttons. Will update.
You have been telling people that this is the 11th hour.

Now you must go back & tell people  this  is  "The Hour" .

The Elders , Oraibi Arizona, Hopi Nation

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2011, 09:11:37 AM »
Funny thing. I was driving to Wally World today, low & behold there I am around the corner 2 blocks from the home & wham-o ... There is an overgrown cactus in a persons yard with those long ears. Hmmm. Also there are fairly large red buttons on the plant for jam. I may go knock on the persons door & see if they would be willing to part with some ears & red buttons. Will update.

Funny how these things cross one's mind... and then you discuss them and then
you see them.  :)
Bear in mind some species are better than others to consume.
Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopales
"Farmed nopales are most often of the species Opuntia ficus-indica,"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia_ficus-indica
Eikipedia  Opuntia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia

 :)  - Yowbarb

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2011, 09:14:04 AM »
Previous post image is:
Opuntia ficus-indica plant, also known as Indian or Barbary Fig

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia_ficus-indica

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2011, 09:27:08 AM »
Funny thing. I was driving to Wally World today, low & behold there I am around the corner 2 blocks from the home & wham-o ... There is an overgrown cactus in a persons yard with those long ears. Hmmm. Also there are fairly large red buttons on the plant for jam. I may go knock on the persons door & see if they would be willing to part with some ears & red buttons. Will update.

Do you know yet if you have them on your land?
That would be great.
Good Luck,
Yowbarb

noproblemo2

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2011, 09:28:57 AM »
Prickly Pear in my yard

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2011, 10:38:58 AM »
Susan, that's awesome!
BTW lovely light in those photographs.
- Yowbarb

BuddhaKitty

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2011, 10:52:07 AM »
nutritional facts, prickly pear:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2039/2
high in fiber, vitamin c

nutritional facts, nopales:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3030/2
high in fiber, calcium, vitamins a & c

Yowbarb

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Re: CACTUS Recipes
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2011, 01:48:19 PM »
nutritional facts, prickly pear:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2039/2
high in fiber, vitamin c

nutritional facts, nopales:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3030/2
high in fiber, calcium, vitamins a & c

Healing properties too...  :)