Cactus: Can you cook and eat cactus?
Cactus, recipes for making drinks, desserts, salads, and entrees. Used in folk medicine. The cactus is an uncommon plant for our latitudes. It is used as an ornamental flower and home decoration. Home-grown thorn stalks are not suitable for human consumption, but wild varieties in Mexico and other Latin American countries have long been used as ingredients in various dishes; the people of these countries know perfectly well how to cook cactus.
History of cactus fires
Cacti were first used in food in Africa. This is due to the lack of water in the area. Initially, only the leaves were consumed, as they are fleshy and contain a lot of water. In the past, wild thorns were found everywhere, there were many in the desert. As a result, the locals gathered in very dry leaves and used them to make various drinks.
Sometime later, the Mexicans also noticed a strange plant, only this time they ate the fruit, they are sweet and pleasant to taste, like tropical fruits. It was in Mexico that the wild stick was later grown into fruit. Nowadays, Mexicans have no question about what to cook from the cactus, as it has become a source of income for the locals.
Interesting facts about cacti and dishes from them:
- In Tunisia and Cyprus, cacti are grown as hedges. This plant is covered with small fluffy thorns. At first glance, they are not dangerous, but they are not. When they come in contact with the skin, they dig into its deep layers and cause burns and itching. Abscesses and even sepsis can develop.
- For the first time, not Mexicans, but Italians began using cactus fruit as a dessert. They were the first to prepare a salad and dessert with fruit from the fruit of the thorny plant.
- Mexico is now the largest exporter of cacti. There are special farms where edible varieties of sticks are grown.
- The Mexicans originally used only thorn leaves for food. One of the most popular dishes nowadays is the pickled leaves of the plant. They taste like pickles.
- In Mexico, many indigenous people make grilled cactus with steak for the holidays. In addition, many restaurants in the country offer scrambled eggs with chopped bay leaves for breakfast.
- Doctors in Mexico use cactus successfully to lower cholesterol and even treat diabetes with the plant.
- Cacti are very useful; the healers in Africa knew this. They used leaves, roots, and fruits to treat skin diseases and internal organ disorders.
In Mexico, Africa, and South America, cacti are used to make desserts, salads, appetizers, and even entrees. In our country, this plant is not common, but if you travel it is worth learning some recipes for simple cactus dishes.
Both prickly pears and Cecchini cactus leaves are used in the preparation of salads. The lettuce is prepared by adding various vegetables and spices. Eat it harvested with bouffant (cornflakes).
Cactus salad recipe that came to us from Mexico:
- Soak the leaves (from a botanical point of view, these are not leaves but stems) for 20 minutes in cold water. Peel a thin layer of skin.
- Chop the puree with a sharp knife into 2 x 2 cm cubes. Pour boiling water over the cactus pieces and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the water.
- Finely chop the parsley. Cut the cucumbers into thin slices. Tomatoes are cut into fine slices.
- Mix all the vegetables and the cactus pieces together, and add the canned sweet grains. Season the salad with balsamic vinegar and vegetable oil.
- Mexicans love to taste this salad with hot peppers. But for us, it is more common to add onions, pickled in vinegar.
This is a great side dish for meat dishes. Deliciously prepared in Mexico. The corrosive nopal cactus is used. It is pre-peeled from needles and peels.
Fried cactus recipe:
- Cut 500 g of the cactus puree into thin slices and boil in water until tender. You need 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the cactus from the boiling water and allow it to cool. Separate 4 egg whites from egg yolks in a separate bowl.
- Beat the whites and egg yolks in separate bowls and mix them together.
- Dip the cactus into the egg mixture and the bread into the flour.
- Fry each piece of cactus on both sides and season with salt.
- Serve with onion, tomato, and garlic tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated cheese over the finished dish.
Cactus Candy Recipes
Sorbet and spicy biscuits are made from sticks. These fruits taste like kiwi, only without having sour toes. They are watered and like juicy pears.
In our country this dish is called jam; abroad it was called confiture or jam. Desserts and cakes are often prepared with it, or simply eaten as a sweet addition to tea or coffee. The dish is prepared simply.
Recipe for cactus jam:
- Use the fruit of a prickly pear to cook. If you use Melocactus or echinocactus, then these species must be taken completely, that is, with leaves and stems.
- Soak ice-pink fruit or echinocactus leaves in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking. This will help to remove the thorns painlessly. You can work everything with rubber gloves. An incision is made in the fruit stick and all the pulp, yellow or red, is removed.
- When using echinocactus, the leaves are cut into small cubes. Add sugar to the plant ingredients. For 1 kg of fruit, you need 500 g of granulated sugar.
- Then add 100 ml of lemon juice and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Put in a saucepan for 20 minutes to add fruit juice.
- Put on the fire and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Pour into sterile jars and roll-up.
If you want to make jam, you have to rub the brew after a hundred, because the fruits contain small bones. After that, the pectin is placed in a homogeneous mass. This jam can be used as an addition to ice cream or as a filling for cookies.
This is a kind of ice cream or fruit ice cream. To make a dessert, you can use yellow or red prickly pear fruit.
- To prepare 6 servings, you need 6 cactus fruits, 50 g of sugar and water, and egg whites.
- Soak the fruit in very cold water for 20 minutes and scrape off the thorns.
- Cut the puree into small cubes and add to the mixing bowl. Chop until puree. It’s ok if it’s very liquid.
- In a separate bowl, mix 50 g of sugar and water. Put on the fire and stir constantly. When all the crystals are dissolved, pour the syrup into the puree.
- In a mixer, beat 1 egg white with a drop of lemon juice. The mixture should resemble foam.
- Add the cactus puree to the protein in a thin stream and stir gently. The mixture should resemble liquid foam. Pour the mixture into bowls or molds and freeze. Served with ice cream and grated chocolate sorbet.
The fruits on the stick are so juicy and tasty that they are eaten raw or light desserts are prepared. They are all low in calories, so they are ideal for women who look at their image.
- For 5 servings you will need 5 red or yellow gooseberries, 500 ml of water, 50 g of sugar, and 20 g of gelatin. You will need 3 kiwi fruit and mint leaves.
- Peel a squash, grate it and cut it into small cubes. Whisk in a blender.
- Put the water on the fire and after boiling, add the puree. Stir and add sugar.
- Cool the mixture and add gelatin to it. Leave it for 20 minutes. Turn on the heat and stir constantly, do not boil the mixture.
- Once the gelatin crystals have dissolved, set aside the liquid.
- Peel a squash, grate it and cut it into thin slices.
- Spread the fruit pieces over the bowls and top with cactus broth. Put in the freezer for 2 hours.
- Serve in bowls, decorated with mint leaves.
Recipes for cactus drinks
In Mexico, pear pears are used to make cocktails, mojitos, and even alcoholic liqueurs. Thanks to a large amount of fructose, the cactus drinks ferment well.
The recipe is based on the use of vodka, which is filled with cactus fruit. For spices, add cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla to the mass. The drink goes well with fruit and resembles liqueur, although not as viscous and sweet.
The recipe for the “prickly pear” tincture:
- Take 1 liter of vodka. Using garden gloves peel 0.5 kg of prickly pear fruit from the skin and thorns. Cut into small pieces or slices.
- Put the fruit in a bowl and add a glass of granulated sugar, 20 g vanilla sugar, 12 cloves, and a few cinnamon sticks.
- Pour vodka and 200 ml of fresh orange into the mass. Leave in a warm place overnight.
- Stir the mixture the next day to spread the sugar evenly all over. Leave in a cool place.
- After 21-28 days, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. Then pour into a container through a layer of material. You must achieve perfect transparency. Served with an infusion of citrus and tropical fruits.
Non-alcoholic cocktail “Pink Panther”
This is a fruity drink that refreshes itself perfectly in the summer heat. Even children can drink it.
Recipe for a drink:
- Take 3 stick fish and peel them.
- Peel a handful of the cherries. Remove the tail from 200 g of blackberries.
- Pour all components into a blender and grind.
- Now you can strain through cheesecloth. It is essential that the bones do not get into the cocktail.
- Squeeze the juice of a quarter of a lemon into a container. Add a handful of ice cream and chop in a mixer.
- Pour the cocktail into glasses and dip the straws.
Recipes for cactus medicine
In Africa and Mexico, the cactus is used for medicinal purposes. It is used to make syrups, decoctions, and rubs for coughs, bronchitis, and varicose veins. In some settlements in Africa, there were shamans who used the cactus to treat almost all diseases.
Consider what kind of medicine you can make from cactus at home:
- Against cough … In the preparation of the medicine are used leafy edible cacti are. They have to clean off the thorns and squeeze out some juice. Mix as much honey, cactus juice, and marshmallow. Take this medicine three times a day before meals. Treats a combination of bronchitis, laryngitis, and even tuberculosis.
- For eczema … The mixture is used to treat eczema, purulent ulcers, and abscesses. Remove needles and skin from green cactus leaves and chop them into a puree. Sift through cheesecloth. Mix one part cactus juice and 2 parts horseradish juice together. Saturate the bandage or cloth with liquid and apply to the abscess. Replace the compressor every three hours.
- For stomach ulcers and gastritis … Chopped cactus leaves (two tablespoons) pour 500 ml of boiling milk. Introduce the peel of one mandarin. Heat the mixture in the heat and let stand for 14 hours. Take 120 ml of fluid three times a day.
- From sciatica … Peel a few cactus leaves from thorns and peel and grate. Massage the porridge into sore joints. Cover the ointment with compressed paper and let stand for 1 hour. It is recommended to apply the extract in the morning and in the evening. If you want, you can leave the program overnight.
- For colds and SARS … Use a tincture of sticks. To prepare the drink, take three cactus leaves and peel them from the skin and thorns. Cut into small pieces and place in an enamel pot. Pour in 500 ml of boiling water. Add a handful of linden flowers and wrap the pot. Leave it overnight. Take 125 ml of the medicine in the morning and evening.
Keep in mind that not all cacti drugs should be taken on an empty stomach as they irritate the walls of the stomach.
Despite the exotic origins of the cactus, this plant is gradually gaining popularity in our country. In some supermarkets, you can find fruit on the shelves.