Some hints on useing Nopales (prickly pear paddles) in the kitchen

Discussion in 'Recipes & Remedies' started by Speedy, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    This is a great green veg.
    You dont even have to plant it,
    just throw a paddle on the ground and it grows on less than 200mm annual rainfall!

    Nopales -Opuntia spp.

    they have to be handled with a bit of care
    and prepare carefully.
    If you do eat some glochids (prickly hairs) they're just a bit irritating.

    Chose small, new growing 'paddles' that are about 5-8mm thick and about 15-20 cm long
    cut off the bumps where the glochids are with a knife.
    wash them if you dont trust that you've got all the prickles off.
    The one on the left is not yet preped and the ones on the right are ready to cut and cook.

    [​IMG]

    Here are two ways to cook them.
    Cut the nopales into cubes.
    [​IMG]

    Fry onion and garlic for about a minute in a bit of oil,
    in this example I fried a dried Guajillo chile breifly (careful not to burn it) and removed before cooking onion.
    Then add cubed nopales to pan.
    [​IMG]

    Grind cooled chile and add to pan with salt to taste.
    [​IMG]

    cook for about 10-12 min in own juices til mucilage comes out and it's ready
    [​IMG]

    some people cook in a few changes of water to get rid of the slippery texture,
    but i find it loses a bit of flavour, besides it's not as slippery as Okra anyway.

    Now here's how to do it on a hotplate or BBQ plate.

    Cut nopales so they're joined at the base.
    Like a hand with lots of fingers.
    Dip into beer (traditionally Tepache) and quickly throw onto hotplate
    [​IMG]

    Cook 4-5min then turn and cook the other side til done.
    [​IMG]

    they can then be cut through as strips and used in tacos or chopped and used in salads or as a side dish.
    These were eaten with various combos of the following ingredients:-
    shredded beef, fresh, warm maize tortillas,
    Sour cream, cheese, avocado, Epazote and purslane lvs and salsa verde.

    Taste and texture?
    well, ...not too dissimmilar to partially cooked green capsicum, crisp but slippery.
    Flavour ... hmmm again, green capsicum comes closest , I think.
    it has a nice sort of acidic tang that balances well with the onions , garlic, chile and salt.
    It feels good to eat.
    ...well, I keep cooking and eating it .
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks Speedy. It almost makes me want to swap my wet subtropics for a patch of desert!
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I like the tequila near the first recipe, Speedy. And for someone who espouses the virtue of chokos, I will not comment on blandness. Can it be used (as is okra) to thicken gumbo? The fruit looks interesting too. Thanks for the post Speedy.
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I thought they were tomatoes posed artfully. Are they cactus fruit instead?
     
  5. Shortlyone

    Shortlyone Junior Member

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    No need to move to the desert Eco, Opuntia ficus-indica grows just fine in SEQ as long as it is in a good free draining sunny spot.
    Also ficus-indica is the only Opuntia that's allowed to be grown in Qld.
    The fruit does look a little like Koubo - (Cereus hildmanianus/ peruvianus)
     
  6. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    Yes, Tequila (or Mezcal generally) is usually close by in my kitchen while I cook, just a cheap one in this case.

    the fruit in the pics are actually tomatos.
    I'll post some pics of the different Tunas (prickly pears) later.

    I also have Cereus spp. from different sources, but too young to fruit yet.
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    This is a great thread Speedy, thanks!

    I had one of these growing in a pot for years. It never got more than about 5 paddles. I gave it away eventually. The one that came off though was massive, bigger than me. And that was in a cool maritime climate. I'm definitely going to look out for another one now.
     
  8. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    A bit off topic Speedy but what is the device near the beer bottle?
     
  9. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    A local Italian gardener has a huge plant.
    I have started a few plants if anyone wants one. They used to be common especially in WA until the Dept. Ag. decided they were noxious weed.
    A local chef used to make ice cream from the fruit.
    Very occasionally you see fruit for sale in Greengrocers.
    They have to be the ultimate desert/ low water food plant.
     
  10. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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  11. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    Not off topic at all purple pear.
    its a tortilla press.
    for making fresh corn tortillas.
    Thats my new one, I've got another (smaller) one I got about 20yrs ago.

    You can make the masa (corn 'dough') from dry maize and lime (calcium hydroxide) and water.
    If you dont have the time needed to do that , you can buy 'masa harina'.
    Just mix with water (about 5parts masa lista: 4parts water), mix and knead, roll into balls, press and cook on an ungreased hot BBQ plate.
    with the masa you can make tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, or Pupusas (El Salvadorean)

    Interesting little snippet ppp, I might have a play with clearing water like that.

    They're also handy when making a render or as an addition to whitewash for earth buildings.
    It gives the render more weather resistance.
    to use it , extract the mucilage by chopping up paddles and allow to stand in water for a day and strain out ,
    or, bring to the boil and allow to cool , then strain.
    use the extract as a part , or the full compliment of water in the recipe for the render.
     
  12. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    We need to alert Kimbo Parker to this dryland sustainability. We could have a tequila party in "permacrasy"
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Where is Kimbo, haven't seen him for a bit.
     
  14. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    A hate website on the plant?
    https://www.northwestweeds.nsw.gov.au/prickly_pear_history.htm
    Some recipes
    https://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Articles/Ethnic-Unique-Foods-Ingredients-645/nopalitos.aspx
    and
    https://www.desertusa.com/magoct97/oct_pear.html
    PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS
    Other Names:

    Barbary-fig Cactus, Cactus Flowers, Cactus Fruit, Cactus Pear Fruit, Gracemere-Pear, Indian-fig Prickly Pear Cactus, Nopal, Nopal Cactus, Nopales, Nopol, OPI, Opuntia, Opuntia cardona, Opuntia ficus, Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia Fruit, Opuntia

    But if I judge the tone of this thread right (This Forum!?) This will be of great interest!
    more at:-
    https://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/974/&page=
    I think you need to consume it before going on a bender.
    I wonder. . .if you made alcohol (hootch) from it would you not get a hangover drinking it?

    from Google scholar
    https://archinte.highwire.org/cgi/content/abstract/164/12/1334

    Making New Mexico Moonshine – Paleo Style
    https://paleoprincess.com/2010/03/18/making-new-mexico-moonshine-paleo-style/

    Hand crafted hooch: Prickly pear vodka from Flagstaff
    https://www.azcentral.com/ent/music/articles/1012distillery-ON-CP.html

    Of course I am only posting these links so you can make alcohol to run your car (Which is also illegal in OZ-- Same in NZ pebble?)
     
  15. Yukkuri_Kame

    Yukkuri_Kame Junior Member

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    A neighbor had a plant that was shedding some leaves, so I planted them in a dry spot under the eaves. Growing well. Have tasted some very young leaves raw, and they are fine as is. Look forward to trying cooking with them. thanks for the suggestions. My sister's place in Los Angeles county, CA has hundreds of prickly pear.
     
  16. Jonathan Byron

    Jonathan Byron Junior Member

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    Eating the pads has a good effect on type 2 diabetes and lowers blood sugar. It is beneficial for metabolic syndrome and blood lipids (it consistently lowers LDL and may raise HDL). The pads have a diuretic activity that may prevent or reverse high blood pressure. It may protect against some of the effects of mycotoxins. The pads have anti-inflammatory and mild analgesic properties.

    The fruits are loaded with pigments related to those found in beets, amaranth and portulaca (betalains, betanins, etc). They have very high antioxidant activity. One fruit in the blender will add a very nice color to a liter or two of orange juice, lemonade, or other beverages.
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    A if treated in a certain way - may turn into ingots of gold.
     
  18. Shortlyone

    Shortlyone Junior Member

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    As few good Xerophyte permaculture references
    Permaculture Plants, agaves and cacti By Jeff Nugent a little on the basic side
    as is - Cacti: Biology and Uses P. S. Nobel
    A Cactus Odyssey. Journeys in the Wilds of Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. J. Mauseth, R. Kiesling, and C. Ostolaza. 2003 is littered withinteresting snippets & is just a really good reed

    Even those of us who aren't suffering the worst effects of drought can still concentrate our water resources to where its most beneficial & still get some benefit from our dry spots, they don't have to be dust bowls.

    So many amazing plants, so little time!
     

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