Cactus Pads

Cactus Pads


Cactus Pads

The only thing worse than sleeping on the ground with a dirt floor is waking up to find you stepped on a cactus! Now you can sleep soundly from the comfort of your car.Cactus Pads, or “nopales” in Spanish, are the flat green leaves of the prickly pear cactus The cactus is native to Mexico, where it is still grown, and can now be found throughout the U.S. and the Mediterranean. Harvesting cactus pads can be challenging without the proper tools; heavy gloves are used for protection from the sharp spines, and a vegetable peeler or small pairing knife will do the trick.Wash the cactus pads with cool water, and peel or trim off any blemished or discolored areas. Slice them into long strips or dice into cubes and cook with other foods. Caution: overcooking cactus pads will take on a slimy taste and texture. Whole cactus pads can be grilled or roasted until tender and slightly browned. Most traditional recipes use cactus pads as a ingredient in soups, salads, and stews.


Cactus pads or nopales, are the stems of the prickly pear cactus, which is a member of the Opuntia species of cactus. The Opuntia cactus pad is edible, but those producing prickly pears, Opuntia ficus-indica are deliberately farmed for cactus pads. Use of the cactus pad in Mexican cuisine is legendary and have migrated into other types of cuisine because of their interesting taste and texture.In Mexican cuisine, several dishes made from cactus pads are quite popular. Eggs with nopales and nopales tacos are both common. Cactus pads also are added to soups, salads or stews for extra flavor. They’re undoubtedly nutritious with a scant eleven calories per half cup serving. They thus make for excellent diet food, but may be less nutritious depending on their preparation.

Each year your cactus pad will grow new pads and get bigger and bigger. In my experience, new pads won't form until the spring after you root the pad. So these, planted in May 2016, should get new pads in 2017. They are less likely to bloom the first year after planting, but it is possible. This one had some buds on it that bloomed after it was removed from the main plant!Cactus, a modified evergreen plant that originated in the deserts of Mexico, grows easily in desert and semi-arid climates. The cactus pad is a vegetable that is a staple in Mexican cuisine for centuries. It has a slight lemon flavor and it’s added to pico de gallo, tacos, fajitas, egg dishes and Mexican salads.Nopal cactus, also known as the prickly pear cactus, is found natively in the southwestern regions of the United States and in Mexico. The flat cactus pads can be eaten when the plant is young. When the cactus is older, it’s too tough to eat. Nopal cactus is a common ingredient in foods in some regions of Mexico. (Source: www.healthline.com)



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