Foodie Blogroll

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Try something new - Cactus

I am always game to try something new. You all know that, if I see something in the store that I haven't heard of I want to try it. In the produce section, something I've seen several times, but walked on by....cactus. When I saw Nathan post all about cactus on his blog La Cocina De Nathan: Cuban, Spanish, Mexican, Cooking & More I wanted to take a second look. I have a large prickly pear cactus in my front yard, but I wasn't sure if that was the eating kind. The cactus Nathan was using was from his friends yard, but looked a little thinner than mine. So the next time I was in the produce section of the store I saw them in I picked some up to try.
First off you have to clean them up without getting poked with the thorns, trim around the edges just cutting all around the pad. Then laying the pad flat scrape with the knife on a slight angle cutting off all the poky things. Rinse well, then pat dry. Season with salt and pepper, or your favorite seasoning. His mom used a meat seasoning with a little orange juice, so that's what I tried. I didn't have the kind she had and either did he, I guess it's from Mexico. I used a meat seasoning that I had. Drizzle with some oil...

Then pan fry it around five minutes on each side, until done (ha! like that one? How do you know when it's done?) Just kidding...he said 4-5 minute per side.

It had a very unique flavor yet seemed familiar. It is tangy, like a lime or lemon, almost like it was pickled. It was okay, but I think it would be better in something, like a stew or salad. If you use it in a stew you boil it first with onions, sliced in strips. I've seen it sliced and jarred in the store, but haven't tried it that way either. Of course the most difficult part is cleaning them, but once you get used to handling them it was OK. I didn't get too many photos of it, I guess I was too engrossed in the job to take more clicks. It wasn't the prettiest when all was done, but it was fun and I glad I did it. It seems my cactus is edible too...maybe next time I try that!
Try something new and let me know!


  1. Oh Lindsey, We have this here. People say this is healthy and usually cook this as dessert with lemon juice but I have not tried it yet.

  2. I have never seen this part of the prickly pear eaten before, but we often used to eat the pear itself in S. Africa which was delicious. Interesting post. Diane

  3. Never seen it!!!!! Can you really eat it???
    Wonderfull!! What about the taste?

  4. Great job utilizing the cactus. I would like to give that a go.

    What a cute kitty, looks like Audi.

    Be Well

  5. Neat! Never knew you could eat cactus. :) Love the pics of you kitty too.

  6. Well color me surprised. I had no idea you could eat cactus!

  7. manger du cactus ça doit être bon
    la photo du chaton est magnifique
    bonne soirée

  8. I had it prepared somehow in Arizona and it was pretty good. I'd never find it here though, I'm sure. Interesting post!

    Love your fur buddy!

  9. Ann, yes it's interesting. I think they use the red "pear" fruits from this in desserts, the pad they treat as a vegetable.

    Diane, I guess they do use both parts of the cactus.

    Elle, it tastes a little tart, or tangy. It would be nice sliced up then sauteed too.

    Larzaro, thank you! I would like to try a few more things with it.

    Susen, ha! it's amazing what people will eat! The kitty is ours by default, he's our neighbor's, but spends all day with us.

    Mags, yeah I know!

    Fimère, thank you, it's different

    Pam thank you for your comment! How did you have it prepared?

  10. I never knew that one can eat cactus too :-)

  11. You're so brave for trying the cactus! I bet it would be good prepared in a salad.

  12. That sounds interesting!I would love to try it.

  13. same here - if i see a new veggie, can't resist buying it! i cook with cactus once in a while. i usually just add to the my mexican meals and salsas.. so delicious!

  14. Next time I see Cactus, I will buy! To make the vanilla powder, I used 2 pods, which still had seeds in them. But you can also use the empty pods. I would guess it lasts a few months, I refrigerate mine. My store bought powder had a BB date of 2011 so.....And when it calls for extract, use half the amount, but also adjust to suit you ok. Take care

  15. I heard this before but never try to cook.

  16. WHAaat? Cactus can be eaten? It looks like a rough aloe vera though.

  17. Fisrt off, gorgeous kitteh!!! Is this your adopting tabby, like our Sophie? So cute and full of expression, awww! I've never tried cactus, thanks for the intro! Love the sense of fresh adventure and experimentation you bring to cooking, Lyndsey!

  18. It was in a burrito with eggs and potatoes and lots of spices. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly how it was prepared but, it was good!

  19. are definitely a much gutsier adventurer than I am in my kitchen.
    Thanks for putting yourself out there to experiment this for us. Your feedback is priceless. Now I know that I will probably never want cactus on my plate ;o) Great post.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  20. There is a big cactus plant near my house, I might harvest some soon!

  21. Rachana - I knew, but I think is the area we live.

    Cinnamon-Girl - Thanks, someone had to do it! :D JK!

    Erica, if you try it, put it in something like a stew, sslsa or Pam has a good idea when she had it.

    PJ - salsas would be good with cactus in it, would give it a zing!

    Kitchen Butterfly - Yes I knew you would OZ! Thanks using vanilla that way is great, a lot quicker than making an extract! (I posted making that)

    Sonia - I had to try it when I saw it!

    tigerfish - Yes it was pretty rough! Interesting too!

    bentobird - Yes that is the kitty who adopted us! His owners jokes about it being our cat, and the first thing he does when they let him out is make a bee-line to our house. We have a dog too, and he'd come in the house if we let him. Thanks for your nice comment Jenn!

    Pam - Ha! you remembered, great! That sounds really good that way. I'd use it again!

    Claudia, thanks, No I probably would not do it plain fried on the plate again, but definitely use it in a salsa, salad or like Pam's burrito! Or in a chutney would be good!

  22. Oh!! So glad to finally have found your food blog. Yay! I love trying new things and you have such great recipes here. Can't wait to try some of them. Thank you for posting them!

  23. Sorry Lynd~ missed out your post! Oh gee, this sounds great with my sweet caterpillar! hehe... This is the first time I've ever heard of cactus can be eaten. GOOD then we don't have to starve ourselves to death when we're out in the desert! Btw, do you eat the skin along or just the inner part? Just like those aloe vera! I think they of both quite similar actually...thick skin & soft inner texture. Hope you're having a great day, dear.
    Blessings, Kristy
    p/s going anywhere during this summer holiday?

  24. SO fun that you tried this. I've wondered what it tastes like.


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