Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trying New Food-Cactus

I have joked about eating cactus for years now so I finally decided to try it. I mean, it's free. Lot's of it grows outside my house and I don't even have to water it. Since I have a horrible time trying to grow other vegetables I thought this might be a great way to get cheap fresh produce.

First, I hunted down a young green cactus shoot. Here's a nice one.


Then I cut off each spiny node. I hear this step goes faster with a carrot peeler but I was having fun sitting on the steps, listening to music and whittling my cactus.


Then I cut it in strips and boiled it for 5 minutes, then cooked it with a little olive oil.



It smelled a bit like green beans. I took one bite and thought it wasn't bad. I took a couple of more bites and just couldn't get over how slimy it was. I ate half and returned the other half back to the wild. Icky.

Well, it was an interesting experience. Perhaps I cooked it wrong. I am disappointed that I didn't like it enough to eat it regularly but I would eat it if I was starving. I guess I'll have to keep trying to grow vegetables or just buy them from the store like other people do. I'll leave the cactus for the javelinas. They like it raw.

11 comments:

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

Now you know.

Slimy, huh? Sounds a lot like boiled okra. People around here deep fry it in batter to make it 'edible'. I don't like it no matter how it is cooked though. Maybe you could deep fry the cactus?

Daizy said...

Mmm...deep frying makes everything better. I bet it would work. Thanks for the heads up about Okra. I'll stay away.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

You're welcome. Okra is a menace.

Anonymous said...

I have only really ever seen cactus candy, and I am not sure how that is made. I must say I think that was very brave of you to eat it.

When I went to NYC, I ate yucca fries. I used to have a yucca in my front yard, and frankly I can't imagine what part of the plant would have been used. They were pretty good. But I think that sort of thing is best eaten when cooked by a professional.

Tessie said...

Wow, that was brave of you. I've had cactus in Mexican restaurants, where it's called nopales. I thought it was good, not slimy, but maybe there's a trick to preparing it. Sounds like a job for Google!

Chance said...

Nopales (cactus) are terrific as french fries. In Mexico, mostly people eat them diced into small pieces and fried, takes the slime off. THey are eaten in scrambled eggs, cooked and added to salads, and used in stews.

When I lived in a place where they grow, I would dice em small, fry them in bacon grease with onion and garlic, add two stirred eggs (for scrambled eggs), and then add diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos for a nice breakfast. They can also be used in stews, like okra, but I didn't care for it.

Nopales are good for you, with lots of good nutritional bonuses, but one of their chief virtues is that they are free. But if you live in a place where nopales grow, you are in for a real gourmet treat, the one foodies drool over, a bit later in the season, very tasty prickly pear fruit. They are divine...

jskell911 said...

I have never heard of eating cactus (of course I am a New Englander so...). You are a brave one!

Christine said...

Here are some yummy sounding recipes. I got a chuckle from it cuz it said the words 'slimy' and 'green beans', much like your post.

I remember trying cactus as a child and it was good. So perhaps with some practice... you may find bliss in cooking cactus. :)

Daizy said...

If I try cactus again it will have to be at a restaurant...and someone else will have to pay! :)

I tried cactus fruit but was not impressed. Perhaps my cactus is too old and water-deprived to produce sweet fruit. The birds do love it though.

Dawn said...

I've heard of putting cactus in a casserole with rice and cheese - much like a broccoli and rice casserole.

Daizy said...

Dawn, that doesn't sound too bad. Perhaps the rice would soak up some of the sliminess.