Cactus Recipes

Nopales and Scrambled Eggs May 19 2016, 12 Comments

Here's one of my favorite ways to eat cactus, fried with scrambled eggs!
I also like to fry potatoes and onions until almost done, add the eggs and scramble them until almost done, then add the cactus and cook it long enough to just heat the cactus. Then some salt and pepper and salsa as it is loaded into heated tortilla shells.....

These make excellent breakfast burritos and are an easy thing to wrap and take to work for lunch.

Local Foods Expert Molly Watson explains it all.

Image of Nopales and Eggs - Photo © Molly Watson

 


$5 discount on cactus for a written review May 10 2016, 12 Comments

We got our first Customer Review on the website since we rebuilt it in January.
We've decided we'll give everyone who writes a review a coupon code for a $5 discount on a box of cactus.

 

From a 'five star review'!

Awesome nopales
May 09, 2016
These are the highest quality. Delicious.

 

If you'd like to take advantage of this opportunity go ahead and post a review from the link above, and we'll send you a discount code to use when you order your next box of cactus. The code should be sent within a few days of notification.

 

 


Nopales and grass March 20 2016, 0 Comments

Yes, there is a lot of edible nopal cactus in the grass.
This is the time and the season to cut the grasses, opening the cactus plants up to the warmth of the sun and stimulating the springtime growth, just in time for Cinco de Mayo sales that will start in a month.
We can see the older more mature nopal plants much further down the hill reach above the grasses, and largely inhibit nearby grass growth once they have a good size to them. This is through an action called 'allelopathy' whereby the cactus exude substances through their roots that inhibit germination or growth of many other plants nearby, excluding them from the cactus patch.

nopal cactus hillside growing area


'Artisan-Grown' edible nopal cactus pads March 18 2016, 0 Comments

This is why we call these 'Artisan-Grown' edible nopal cactus pads.
Just before we start the larger commercial harvests we cut the grasses growing around the plants over the winter. The grasses from the rows are cut and laid in among the cactus plants in order to shade the soil. The grasses from the pathways are also cut and placed gently around the cactus.
This has several benefits"
1. Removal of the grasses will open the plants to the warming affects of the sun. This will stimulate the summer growth and formation of new cladodes (cactus pads, edible cactus leaves, nopales).
2. The cut grasses will help shade the soil, reducing temperature spikes and helping keep the cactus roots cool and conserving moisture. If the roots don't cook, the plant can take more sunshine and heat and grow faster.
3. As the year goes on the leaves and the straw from the grass stems will slowly decompose into the soil, adding to the biosphere of the soil zone.

Cutting by hand is more challenging. A mechanical string trimmer is faster, but the grasses are chopped up and fly everywhere, including damaging the growing cactus.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
And this cactus is worth growing for our customers.
And I will grow it right, and leave this soil richer and deeper than when I got here.

 

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Esta es la razón por la que los llamamos "Artisan-Grown'.
Justo antes de empezar las grandes cosechas comerciales cortamos las hierbas que crecen alrededor de las plantas durante el invierno. Los pastos de las filas se cortan y se sentó entre los cactos en orden a la sombra de la tierra.
Las hierbas de los caminos se cortan y coloca suavemente alrededor de los cactus.
Esto tiene varias ventajas"
1. Extracción de las gramíneas se abrirá las plantas afecta al calentamiento del sol. Esto estimulará el crecimiento de verano y formación de nuevos cladodios (pastillas de cactus comestibles, hojas de cactus, nopales).
2. Cortar la hierba ayudará a la sombra del suelo, reduciendo los picos de temperatura y ayudando a mantener las raíces de cactus fresco. Si las raíces no cocine, la planta puede tomar más sol y calor y crecer más rápido.
3. Como el año pasa sobre las hojas y la paja de los tallos de pasto se descomponen lentamente en el suelo, agregando a la biosfera, de la zona de la tierra. Cortar a mano es más desafiante. Un recortador de cadena mecánico es más rápido, pero las gramíneas están picados y volar por doquier, incluso dañar el cultivo de nopal Si vale la pena hacer, vale la pena hacer lo correcto. Y esto vale de nopal creciente para nuestros clientes. Y voy a crecer bien, y dejar esta tierra más rico y más profundo que cuando llegué aquí.


Picking Nopales, making nopalitos March 15 2016, 0 Comments

I was picking and packing nopal cactus today and had the urge to take pictures of the nopales pads.
We have here Grade-D (juicing Grade) cactus and Grade -C Gourmet grade nopal cactus pads in these pics.
This is the quality we've got being harvested right now.

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Yo estaba recogiendo y embalaje nopal cactus hoy y tenía ganas de tomar fotos de los nopales pastillas. Aquí tenemos la categoría D (zumo de grado) y cactus -C GRADO grado Gourmet nopal cactus pads en estas fotos. Esta es la calidad que tenemos está cosechando ahora.

nopales cactus pads

 

Above we have Grade-C nopales cactus. This is the grade we recommend for most culinary uses. This is an easy-to prepare nopal cactus that needs just a wiping under running water to clean off. They are excellent raw in salsa or a cool refreshing cactus salad. They can also be mixed with other foods as another ingredient in a healthy diet. Add some nopalitos diced-fine to your meatloaf and see how much moister the loaf is. Fry nopales in with other vegetables in a stir fry. Fry some potatoes and scramble eggs in, as the eggs are almost done toss your chopped cactus in, stir and spoon them into tortillas to make breakfast burritos.

 

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Arriba tenemos la categoría C cactus nopales. Este es el grado que recomendamos para la mayoría de los usos culinarios. Esta es una forma fácil de preparar nopal cactus que sólo necesita un barrido bajo un chorro de agua para limpiar. Son excelentes materias en salsa o un cactus refrescantes ensaladas. También pueden ser mezcladas con otros alimentos como otro ingrediente en una dieta saludable. Agregar unos trocitos finos de nopalitos a su pastel de carne y ver cuánto más mojado el pan. Freir nopales con otras verduras en un salteado. Freír las patatas y los huevos revueltos, como los huevos son casi hecho balancearse en sus cactus en picado, agitar y cuchara de ellos en las tortillas, burritos de desayuno.

 

nopales cactus pads (cladodes)

This photo shows the Grade D 'Juicing Grade' nopalea cactus we're harvesting right now. The quality and looks changes through the year, it is a plant that grows outdoors after all. These Grade-D Juicing-grade cactus are thicker skinned with more weight per nopal pad. These are the leaves that grew over the winter. They've seen a few storms, but they are full of life. This is the grade people who are going to juice them might want to use. They have a lot more fiber than the younger leaves. 

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Esta foto muestra el grado D 'exprimir' cactus nopalea grado estamos cosechando ahora. La calidad y analiza los cambios a través del año, es una planta que crece en el exterior después de todo. Estos Grado D exprimir cactus grado son más gruesas de piel con más peso por nopal pad. Estas son las hojas que crecieron durante el invierno. Ellos han visto pocas tormentas, pero están llenos de vida. Esta es la clase de personas que van a ellos el jugo que desee utilizar. Tienen mucha más fibra que las hojas más jóvenes.

 

 

 


Springtime Nopales cactus growth report March 14 2016, 0 Comments

The rain did the nopal cactus and the grasses real good!
The grass is rich and deep green, full of nutrients and holding the soil together. Many of the grasses are a meter tall and more.
Right now the grasses are shading the cactus and delaying awakening from the winter dormancy. In the coming weeks the seeds on the grasses will ripen and we'll cut the grass and use the stems as mulch to shade the soil. Once the nopal plants are opened to the warm sun they will take off well and continue growing through the summer.
We expect to be on a roll by Cinco de Mayo.
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La lluvia hizo el nopal cactus y las gramíneas bien real! La hierba es rica y el verde oscuro, lleno de nutrientes y manteniendo el suelo juntos. Muchas de las gramíneas son de un metro de altura y más.
Ahora el sombreado de las gramíneas son cactus y retrasar el despertar de la dormancia invernal. En las próximas semanas las semillas de las gramíneas madure y vamos a cortar el pasto y el uso de los tallos como mantillo a la sombra de la tierra. Una vez que las plantas de nopal se abrió al calor del sol que saldrá bien y seguir creciendo durante el verano.
Esperamos estar en un rodillo por el Cinco de Mayo.
spring nopal growthnopales cactus

10 Health Benefits of Nopales March 13 2016, 0 Comments

From the article 10 Health Benefits of Nopales:

Nopales, also known as cactus juice or prickly pears, is of the species Opuntia ficus-indica. It is a popular vegetable in Mexican dishes due to its low calories and succulent, green leaves.

Health Benefit 1: Anti- inflammation

The ability of Nopales to fight inflammation in the muscles, arteries, gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system is a well known fact.  It has also been shown to lower pain in people with urethra and bladder, bladder infections as well as gallstones.

Health Benefit 2: Boost Immune System

The photochemical in Nopales are useful in making the immune system stronger.

nopal cactus

Health Benefit 3: Anti-oxidant Properties

Nopales are rich in antioxidants known as betalins.

Health Benefit 4: Fights Cholesterol

The high amounts of soluble fiber in Nopales have been found through research to combat high levels of cholesterol.

Health Benefit 5: Combats Diabetes

Nopales are particularly useful to people suffering from non-insulin diabetes. It has been found to lower and balance blood pressure.

 

 

Health Benefit 6: Digestive Health

The functions of the digestion process such as absorbing excess water as well as speeding up bowel movement are enhanced by the insoluble fiber in them.

Health Benefit 7: Nutrient Rich

Nopales are endowed with a variety of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin A, C, K, B6, riboflavin among a host of other minerals such as calcium.

nopal cactus

Health Benefit 8: Low Calorie Food

 With high content of amino acid, vitamin and minerals, nopales is considered a low calorie food hence beneficial for weigh loss. They contain 17 amino acids, with 8 of them being essential.

Health Benefit 9:Anti-Cancer Properties

Nopales have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Health Benefit 10: Neuroprotective Properties

The stems and fruits of Nopales contain quercetin 3-methyl, flavonoid which is said to a powerful neuroprotector.

 

Read the entire article at healthbenefitsofeating.com

 

nopal

 


The Nutrition of Cactus Juice March 12 2016, 1 Comment

From the article:

Cactus juice, also known as nopales, nopalitos or prickly pear juice, is a popular beverage in Mexico, South America, India, the Middle East and parts of Europe. This beverage has recently caught on in popularity in the United States.

The fleshy oval leaves of the cactus plant have a sticky liquid that is similar to asparagus, green beans or green peppers. The nectar of this plant is composed of water, sugar and minerals.

fleshy oval pads of nopal cactus

 

The Nutritional Value of Cactus Juice

Cactus juice provides you with beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium and numerous other minerals and vitamins. Additionally, this fruit is rich in amino acids, specifically taurine. Taurine has antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which are beneficial to the body.

 

Health Benefits of Cactus Juice

Cactus juice has shown to help to prevent inflammation in the muscles, arteries, gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular region.

Cactus juice has a laxative effect and has shown to effectively treat constipation. In addition to easing constipation, cactus juice can reduce inflammation in the urethra and bladder.

Cactus juice is a good source of photochemicals, which can help strengthen the body's immune system.

Additionally, the nopal cactus has high levels of betalins, which are antioxidants.

The American Heart Association has conducted research examining the benefits of cactus juice in reducing cholesterol levels.

Cactus juice has shown to be an effective remedy for non-insulin diabetes. Research shows that cactus juice can help decrease and stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels

Enjoy 1 to 2 tbsp of cactus juice up to three times a day to benefit from the numerous benefits provided by this fruit.

Read the entire article about the Nutrition Value of Cactus Juice

 


Health Benefits of Nopal March 12 2016, 0 Comments

From the article:

Nopales are spectacularly healthy type of cacti with a wide range of health benefits including its ability to aid in weight loss, prevent cancer, improve skin health, protect heart health, regulate and improve digestion, boost the immune system, optimize metabolic activity, build strong bones, cure insomnia, and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Nutritional Value of Nopales

The wealth of health benefits that come from nopales are mainly attributable to its nutrition and vitamin content, which includes riboflavin, vitamin B6, copper, iron, fiber, vitamin-A, C, K, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It is also an important source of certain organic compounds like phytochemicals and certain polysaccharides that also contribute to the health boosting power of nopales.

Health Benefits of Nopales

Digestion: Nopales are forms of cacti, so they are very fibrous and contain a great deal of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is essential in the digestive process, because it adds bulk to bowel movements that make them easier to pass through the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.

Weight Loss: There are a number of components within nopales which can aid in weight loss. First, fiber can make the body feel full and inhibit the release of ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone, so overeating is reduced. Secondly, this plant is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it is packed with metabolic potential, so the body works at a higher level without gaining weight.

 

Cancer Prevention: The variety of phytochemicals, flavonoid compounds, vitamin-C, and other antioxidants found in nopales make it extremely beneficial for the entire immune system, particularly when it comes to various cancers.

 

diced nopales cactus

 

Metabolic Activity: One of the most important aspects of nopales in terms of health is its mineral and vitamin content. Nopales contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin-B6, all of which are vital components of cellular metabolism and normal, regulated enzyme function throughout the body.

 

Builds Strong Bones: The mineral content of this powerful cactus leaf includes a modest level of calcium, which is an essential part of building strong bones and repairing bones after being damaged.

 

Improve Sleep: This plant also contains magnesium,which is a useful mineral for inducing feelings of sleep for people suffering from insomnia, chronic anxiety or restlessness. It induces the release of serotonin in the body, which results in increased melatonin levels.

 

 

Inflammation: The juice that is taken out of the pickle pear leaves of nopales has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on a variety of body parts, including those symptoms associated with arthritis, injury, joint pain, and muscle strain.

 

 

 

 

Skin Health: The phytochemical and antioxidant characteristics of nopales make them a good defensive mechanism against premature aging symptoms, like wrinkles and age spots.

 

Diabetes: The extracts from the leaves of prickly pear cactus can be powerful regulators of glucose levels within the body. For patients with type 2 diabetes, it can cause a reduced spike in glucose levels following eating, which makes the management of diabetes easier.

 

 

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edible cactus ready to harvest March 08 2016, 0 Comments

We are getting a nice growth of edible cactus on our upper terraces.

The upper terraces get more sunshine in the winter, and they don't get as cold at night as the cold air drains downhill to the older cactus plants. These plants are just now starting to put out a good harvest for the first time since they were planted four years ago. Our overall cactus harvest of summer should be double any other year.

Organic edible cactus pads, gourmet quality

These are the fresh leaves at the beginning of the 'Grade-C' grade. 

We are very happy when we're able to switch to the fresh leaves each spring.

Gourmet Grade-A edible Cactus pads

These are a good look at the quality we demand for the Grade-A gourmet edible cactus. They must be blemish-free, as even and unbent as possible. The care given to them post-harvest is important also, to preserve as much of the natural quality as possible through what may be thousands of miles of travel. So each layer of grade-A edible cactus is packed with  a layer of tissue paper between to reduce damage the tender plants might cause one another.

 

edible cactus in spring growth

Here is how nicely the plants are now growing out. These cladodes (pads, leaves, nopal) will be fully mature and ready for 'Cinco de Mayo' celebrations as Grade C edible cactus, the grade we most recommend for home and chef use.

edible cactus, nopal plants in the field

Here is a view of some of the rows of edible cactus, their new pads ready to harvest within weeks.