So I have been thinking about survival foods… you know in case of Zombie Apocalypse, going over the fiscal cliff or avalanche, or just for fun! So earlier this year – in the spring- I tried a fruit from my Mom’s cactus. I just picked it with my bare hands, trying to avoid all the stickers. Take my advice and use tongs or leather gloves. Unless you like pain of course. I was very impressed with the taste of this fruit. With a little googling I found out this is actually the most eaten fruit in the world. And a drink is even sold for health using this. It s good for arthritis, blood sugar control and cholesterol. And best of all it tastes good and is free.
Let’s face it cactus are pretty cool. They look nice, they have beautiful flowers that bees love. You can get food and water from some. They need very little – if any care. They provide hiding places for small animals. They can keep people away, and are edible.
You can eat the pads too. They are better in spring and early fall, same as the fruits. I harvested both of mine a little late in the season today. The fruit was good, but not nearly as good as it was in spring. Deep purple – so it has to be full of antioxidants. I cleaned and cut up the pads. Then I cubed them and fried them up in butter with salt and pepper. Pretty good. The skin was a little too tough. I think I picked some that were too old. But it was all good. You can also make salads with it and French fried. Sounds yummy. Of course the inside is slimy – like okra. Great for the stomach. I also read they are great cooked with eggs or added to salsa!! So I will be trying more nopalas!!
Here is link to info prickly pear cactus and how the Indians used it.