Ever have a hankering for caramel cactus? Didn’t even know it was possible?
Create an exotic dessert with grilled cactus chunks over vanilla ice cream. Toss 2 cups cactus chunks with ¼ cup sugar and grill over medium-high heat. Serve over ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.
Agave Nectar is the latest hot product in the sweetener world. I like it for making drinks, and I even use it in spaghetti sauce occasionally.
Just as maple syrup is a wholly natural sweetener from Mother Nature’s maple tree, agave (pronounced ah-gah-vay) is a natural nectar from the cactus plant.
But that’s not right – Agaves aren’t a cactus plant. You can get all kinds of fruits and vegetables from cactus plants, but not agave nectar (and not tequila either.) Click through the links for recipes.
Ingredients (1 serving)
1 flour or wheat tortilla.
2 ounces of Queso Fresco – half of the 4oz. package. Okay to substitute with your favorite cheese.
2 tablespoons of cactus – drained and patted dry with paper towel.
Heat pan or grill. Drain and pat dry cactus from jar. Place tortilla on grill or pan and crumble cheese onto half of tortilla. Add drained and dried cactus over cheese. Fold in half and lightly brown tortilla on each side until cheese is melted.
2 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 package powdered pectin
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 quart of prickly pear cactus fruit should make about 2 1/2 cups of juice. Pluck the fruit from the cactus with a long-handled fork or tongs. Wash under running water, then use a brush to clean (spines left on the fruit will soften during cooking and should come off after fruit is strained.)…
In a saucepan, measure out 2 1/2 cups of cactus juice; add 1 package of powdered pectin. Bring mixture to a fast boil, stirring constantly…. Makes 6 1/2 pints of jelly.
* 2 cups cleaned and cubed nopalitos
* 1 jicama, julienned
* 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
* 1 small tomato, cubed
* 1/2 red onion, chopped
* 1 red tuna fruit
* 1 green tuna fruit
* 2 TBSP cilantro, chopped
* the juice of 1 lemon
* salt to taste
You’ll have to click through for the instructions and the rest of the photos.
Poached Aloe Recipe
2 large aloe leaves peeled and cubed (about 1 lbs)
1 C sugar
Juice of 1 lime
Not a lot of ingredients. I recommend reading the instructions that go with it. It’s a bit complicated for those of us who don’t like to cook anything more complicated that scrambled eggs or baked potatoes. Not that I can’t also cook things that are more complicated, I just choose not to. I’m a big fan of one-pan dinners. Throw it all together and see what comes out.
But then there’s aloe.
I’m not saying it’s not delicious, I’m just saying you’d never get me to try.
And did you know that I have a category for recipes on the right side column? We’ve posted lots of succulent and cactus recipes over the years. And lots of tequila drinks too. Check it out.
And it’s probably one of those “heart-healthy” meals too, since nopales are supposed to be good for you.
Nopales… contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant…. (and) can reduce the glycemic index of a meal, and have been used to decrease the level of glucose in diabetics’ blood…. The American Heart Society, for example, is researching the use of nopales to help manage cholesterol levels.
Prickly Pear Jelly
1 quart of Prickly Pears (or Tuna as they’re called) to yield 2 1/2 cups of juice
1 package powdered pectin (the liquid doesn’t work for this recipe)
3 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
3 1/2 cups sugar
Click through for the rest. And this was in response to our search for cactus candies over the last few days. Behold the power of blogs!
I wonder if I can get Hap to try this. He would know how to.
It’s not technically a margarita. I made this drink up all on my lonesome. It’s great at BBQs or with spicy Mexican food. I’ve been making cactus pear margaritas for a long time, but I added a little blue.
* 1 liter margarita mix
* 2 small prickly pears (otherwise called cactus pears)
* 16 ounces gold tequila
* 5 ounces blue curacao
* 4 fresh limes
* kosher salt or margarita salt
1. To make Prickley Pear Margarita Mix:.
2. In a blender add your bottle (1 liter) of Margarita mix. I usually just cut the cactus pears in half and scoop out the pink flesh. Add the fruit’s flesh to the blender and blend until smooth.
3. Strain mixture through a fine sieve or rice strainer. Press the pulp down to get any remaining liquid out.
4. I usually pour strained mix back into margarita mix bottle and use the little left in the bottom of the container to make my first drink.
5. For each drink:.
6. Fill shaker half full of ice.
7. Add 2 oz tequila, 3/4 oz blue curacao and the juice of half a lime.
8. Shake well and strain into a 12 ounce glass that’s been dipped in margarita salt and packed with ice. Pour Prickly Pear Margarita mix to the top and serve.
9. Garnish with lime.
10. Should make about 8 drinks.
I don’t have all the ingredients right now, so I won’t be able to try this tonight. Maybe tomorrow.
I wanted to know…is it possible to make mead out of agave nectar? It was something I wanted to experiment with. Do you have any experience with this? –Tia
A: Dear Tia,
There is a long tradition amongst indigenous peoples of making fermented beverages with cactus juice. When the Papago people of the Sonoran desert make their sacred fermentation from saguaro sap, it is called Tiswin, when the Tarahumara Indians use agave it is called Pulque….
Read the rest, it includes a recipe! I love recipes!
Another non-traditional ingredient was cactus, used by Chef Rodney Ignacio from Casino MonteLago. Chef Ignacio said, “you have to pluck off the spikes then boil the cactus so you can get to the sap inside.”
The nopales, as the cactus bits are called, added a sweet and tart flavor that cut the spice of Chef Ignacio’s green chili with chicken.
The pads are… “nopales” when they’re whole, and “nopalitos” when they’re diced. They taste something like green beans. The fruits are called prickly pears, cactus pears, or “tunas”.
Whether you add sliced or cubed pads to omelette’s or gently urge the fruit from its stickery skin and eat it fresh or cooked into jelly, this cactus has much to offer. Even the seeds can be eaten in soups or dried and ground into flour.
They don’t share any recipes with us. I wonder why? Everybody loves recipes.
Marian Manners and Prudence Penny were pseudonyms for the cooking instructors and writers, and later the food editors, of the Los Angeles Times and Hearst newspapers, respectively….
Many requests were for… “Top Chef” Quickfire challenges with Prudence and Marian inventing dishes based on one ingredient. A Southern California woman who wanted to use the wild cactus growing in her backyard received instructions for making cactus candy (chop down a cactus, remove thorns and simmer in simple syrup for several days).
Another fine recipe. I wonder if this is going to be a week filled with recipes.
1 lb Nopales – 1 paddle, cleaned
1 tb Oil as required
1/2 lb Tomatoes diced
2 cloves Garlic – peeled and crushed
1/3 c white onion – Finely chopped
4 medium Serrano chilies – seeded & fine diced
1 ts Salt – to taste
2 lg Eggs
2 large Egg whites
Notes: Nopales (cactus leaves) have been a staple of Mexican cooking since pre-Hispanic times. They taste a little like green beans, and they’re a source of vitamins A and C. Fresh nopales with the thorns removed can be found in the produce section at many grocery stores.
Cactus pads can be found in Latin markets as well as some supermarket produce sections. Look for bright green, shiny leaves the size of your hand. The spiny soft thorns must be rubbed off with a nylon abrasive pad before you proceed with the recipe. Careful as they can be sharp.
-2 large cactus pads (nopales), scrubbed of thorns, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
-Salt, to taste
-1 medium tomato, chopped
-1 serrano or jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
-1/4 small red onion, chopped
-1/4 cup minced cilantro
-Juice of 1 lime
-6 lettuce leaves, optional
Put diced cactus into a saucepan of cold water to cover. Add a pinch salt and bring to a boil.
Cook 4 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Combine cactus with remaining ingredients except lettuce and mix well. Serve on leaf lettuce or in small cocktail glasses as an appetizer. Makes 6 servings.
Since I never try out these recipes in advace of reprinting them for you, I cannot calim to know if they are delicious or not. Only you can decide that for yourself. Fortunately there is no shrimp in this recipe, so at least I could try it if I wanted.