Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nopales ~ Cactus

We had plenty of opportunities to eat cactus while on our hiatus in Cancun. We had it sauteed with onions and green peppers, boiled, fried with corn meal flour, and pickled. We were thrilled to spot these cactus pads in the Mercado and look, the prickers are scraped off! Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Cactus) grow throughout Mexico. The spring pads provide a very tender vegetable. I understand the pads are used medicinally as poultice for wounds, much like Aloe is used. The fruit is edible as well, making a delicious jelly. Historically, used as a dye plant as well, the fruits produce a magenta or pink color. Gourmet Sleuth shares recipes, preparation techniques, and more on this website where they tout something delicious beneath the prickles.

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