IMO, nopales, when fried taste similar to Okra, slimy and all. They are good cooked in pinto beans, cooked in scrambled eggs and even pickled.Anyone know how they taste?
We must have a different verity here, Sue. Nopales are quite a popular grocery store item in some of the local stores where hispanics shop and they have a quite distincive taste. I guess their may be a big difference in the farm raised and wild verities.dirtgrrl is exactly right. We ate prickly pear and beavertail cactuses last winter when we were camping in the wilderness outside Vegas. They taste like tasteless pineapple, with the texture of mangoes. Sort of bland, I guess you'd say. We ate the cactus itself, not the flowers or fruits.
The glochids (fine spines) are terrible if you even so much as brush the pad of the cactus. It's hard to track them all down and remove them from your hand, they're so fine.
There is a lot of edible food in the desert, but I wouldn't count on drinking water from the cactus. Water from the big ones (Saguaro) will give you diahrea if you drink too much of the liquid from it, and you don't want that problem when dehdration is already a likelihood. You're better off learning how to find water in the desert by knowing where to look, such as recognizing signs of where water is near the surface. There's a lot more water in deserts like the mojave than you realize. The 'dryness' has more to do with soil structure and drainage than the amount of rainfall. Yes, they get a lot less than 'back east', but the sandy soil creates what appears to be a waterless environment.
I bought 2 at the local Mexican market last Friday night just because I was curious. I asked the lady how to prepare them and she said cut in small peices, cook in just a little water and mix with tomatoes, chopped onion and cilantro. I washed, cut and cooked. I ate a piece. It was kind of bland, needed salt and a minute or so later I got a blinding headache. I think if I had drained them, rolled them in meal and fried them it would have been better, but because of the strange headache, I threw them out.IMO, nopales, when fried taste similar to Okra, slimy and all. They are good cooked in pinto beans, cooked in scrambled eggs and even pickled.
It is important to pick when they are young, as they age they get fiberous and unless you have teeth and a stomach like a cow, they become non edible. As far as the Prickly Pear Fruit, I dont much care for it, but it is being labeled a "Miracle Fruit" for its nutritional and medicinal qualities. My mother raves about the juice:scratch.