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Topic: my grocery store sells cactus leaves.

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Subject: my grocery store sells cactus leaves.
Date Posted: 11/27/2014 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,547
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I have looked at these for a while and I asked a guy who works in the produce at the grocery and he tells me they are pretty good. He says his wife peels them and steams them.

Anybody eats these things. I am curious to try them but I wish I knew a little more about how they taste.

Date Posted: 12/10/2014 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
Posts: 3,574
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I've had the ones preserved in jars, never fresh ones. they taste like a very mild green, mildly pickled pepper, with no real heat. very nice. very soft texture. maybe fresh ones are different?

Date Posted: 12/11/2014 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,547
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The produce guy at the grocery says his wife peels them and steams them and then mixes them in salsa. It sounds like maybe they are not a separate dish by themselves. more like something to mix with something else.

Date Posted: 1/7/2015 8:57 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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I have tried them at freinds' houses. They were using them in another recipe---like salsa, which is how they said they always use them. The cactus has almost no taste by themselves, maybe like a very soft celery? but much much milder.

Date Posted: 1/30/2015 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2005
Posts: 2,937
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I find cactus to have a similar flavor to green beans.  One of the most common uses for it in Mexican cooking is to make a cactus salad.  The following recipe looks pretty authentic: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cactus-salad-recipe.html

Or you can use my own recipe (which has a photograph of the dish) -- but it's in Spanish, so you'd need to translate: http://comidamexicana.about.com/od/FrutasVerdurasYFrijoles/r/Ensalada-De-Nopales.htm .

I have used the jarred cactus pieces to make the salad (be sure to drain and rinse them thoroughly), and I have also chopped and cooked the fresh ones.  Yes, they exude a slimy substance kind of like okra does. just keep rinsing and rinsing until most of the slime is gone.

Cactus is also very good grilled, as a side to grilled meats.  Buy the fresh cactus "leaves" (paddles).  Make several cuts in each one so that they "fan out" a bit (see photo: http://comidamexicana.about.com/od/PlatosPrincipales/r/Carne-Asada-A-La-Mexicana-Con-Nopales-Y-Cebollitas.htm ) and place on grill.  Cook until they most or all of the piece has changed color from a bright green to an olive-y green.  Pull apart into strips: put a couple of strips on a hot corn tortilla (or one strip of cactus and another of steak) and season with salt, lime juice, and/or a salsa or hot sauce.  Delicious!


Last Edited on: 1/30/15 9:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/6/2015 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 638
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Where we live in Texas you can purchase the whole paddles that have been cleaned of the thorns or diced fresh cactus in packages. They remind me of a cross between green beans and celery. Cut the paddles in strips or dice. You can boil them till they turn olive in color or sauté them in oil till crisp tender. If you boil them, be sure you rinse them well to get rid of the slime boiling creates. You can add them to scrambled eggs and make breakfast tacos  or use them in salads. There are lots of recipes on the internet you can search.