What can be cooked from cacti

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What can be cooked from cacti
What can be cooked from cacti

Recipes for making drinks, desserts, salads and cactus main courses. Use in folk medicine. The cactus is an uncommon plant for our latitudes. It is used as a decorative flower and home decoration. Thorny stems, which are grown at home, are not suitable for human consumption, but wild varieties in Mexico and other countries of South America have been used for a long time as ingredients for various dishes, the inhabitants of these states know perfectly well how to cook cacti.

The history of cooking cactus dishes

Prickly pear cactus

For the first time in food cacti began to be used in Africa. This is due to the small amount of water in the area. Initially, only the leaves were consumed, as they are fleshy and contain a lot of water. Previously, wild thorns were found everywhere, there were a lot of them in the desert. Therefore, the local population during a severe drought collected leaves and used them to prepare various drinks.

A little later, the Mexicans also noticed a strange plant, only this time they took the fruits for food, they are sweet and pleasant to the taste, like tropical fruits. It was in Mexico that the wild prickly pear was later cultivated for fruit. Now the Mexicans do not have a question of what to cook from the cactus, since 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 in contact with the skin, they dig into its deep layers, causing burning and itching. An abscess and even blood poisoning may develop.
  • For the first time, not Mexicans, but Italians began to use the fruits of cacti as a dessert. They were the very first to prepare a salad and a dessert with fruits from the fruits of a thorny plant.
  • Mexico is now the largest exporter of cacti. There are special farms where edible varieties of prickly pear are grown.
  • The Mexicans originally used only thorny leaves for food. One of the most popular dishes nowadays is the pickled leaves of the plant. They taste like pickled cucumbers.
  • In Mexico, many indigenous people prepare a grilled cactus with a steak for the holidays. In addition, many eateries in the country serve scrambled eggs with chopped prickly pear leaves for breakfast.
  • Doctors in Mexico successfully use cactus to lower cholesterol levels and even treat diabetes mellitus with the plant.
  • Cacti are very useful, the healers of Africa knew this. They used leaves, roots and fruits to treat skin diseases and ailments of internal organs.

Cactus recipes

In Mexico, Africa and South America, cacti are used to prepare desserts, salads, appetizers and even main courses. In our country, this plant is not common, but if you travel, it is worth learning a few recipes for simple cactus dishes.

Cactus salad

Mexican cactus salad

For the preparation of salads, both prickly pear fruits and echinocactus leaves are used. The leaf salad is prepared with the addition of various vegetables and spices. Eat it scooped up with bouffant (corn chips).

Cactus salad recipe that came to us from Mexico:

  1. Soak the leaves (from a botanical point of view, these are not leaves, but stems) for 20 minutes in cold water. Peel off a thin layer of skin.
  2. Chop the pulp with a sharp knife into 2 by 2 cm cubes. Pour boiling water over the cactus pieces and leave for 15 minutes. Drain the water.
  3. Chop the parsley finely. Cut the cucumbers into thin slices. Tomatoes are cut into neat slices.
  4. Mix all vegetables and cactus pieces, add canned sweet corn.Season the salad with balsamic vinegar and vegetable oil.
  5. Mexicans love to flavor this salad with hot peppers. But for us, it is more usual to add onions pickled in vinegar.

Fried cactus

How nopal leaves are fried

This is a great side dish for meat dishes. Delicious is prepared in Mexico. The edible nopal cactus is used. It is pre-peeled from needles and peels.

Fried cactus recipe:

  • Cut 500 g of cactus pulp into thin slices and boil in water until tender. You will need 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove the cactus from the boiling water and let cool. Separate the 4 egg whites from the yolks in a separate bowl.
  • Whisk the whites and yolks in separate bowls and combine.
  • Dip the cactus in the egg mixture and bread in flour.
  • Fry each piece of cactus on both sides and season with salt.
  • Serve with onion, tomato and garlic tomato sauce. Sprinkle the finished dish with grated cheese.

Cactus Sweets Recipes

Sorbet and spicy biscuits are made from prickly pear fruits. These fruits taste like kiwi, only without a clear sourness. They are watery and like a juicy pear.

Cactus jam

Prickly pear jam

In our country, this dish is called jam, abroad it was called confiture or jam. Desserts, pastries are often prepared with it, or simply eaten as a sweet addition to tea or coffee. The dish is prepared quite simply.

Cactus Jam Recipe:

  1. For cooking, use the fruits of prickly pear. If you use melocactus or echinocactus, then these species must be taken completely, that is, with leaves and stems.
  2. Soak prickly pear fruits or echinocactus leaves in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking. This will help to remove the thorns painlessly. You can do all the work with rubber gloves. An incision is made in the fruits of the prickly pear and all the pulp, yellow or red, is removed.
  3. When using echinocactus, the leaves are cut into small cubes. Add sugar to the plant materials. For 1 kg of fruit, 500 g of granulated sugar is needed.
  4. Then add 100 ml of lemon juice and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Leave in a saucepan for 20 minutes to let the fruit juice.
  5. Put on fire and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and roll up.

If you want to make jam, then the brew must be rubbed after a hundred, because the fruits contain small bones. After that, pectin is introduced into the homogeneous mass. This jam can be used as an addition to ice cream or as a filling for cookies.

Opuntia sorbet

Opuntia sorbet

This is a kind of ice cream or fruit ice. For the preparation of dessert, you can use yellow or red prickly pear fruits.

Sorbet recipe:

  • To prepare 6 servings, you need 6 cactus fruits, 50 g each of sugar and water, egg white.
  • Soak the fruit in very cold water for 20 minutes and scrape off the thorns.
  • Cut the pulp into small cubes and add to the blender bowl. Chop until puree. It's okay if it's very liquid.
  • In a separate bowl, combine 50 g of sugar and water. Put on fire and stir constantly. When all the crystals are dissolved, pour the syrup into the puree.
  • In a blender, beat 1 egg white with a drop of lemon juice. The mixture should resemble foam.
  • Add the cactus puree into 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.

Cactus jelly

Prickly pear fruits

The fruits of prickly pear are so juicy and tasty that they are eaten raw or light desserts are prepared. All of them are low in calories, so they are ideal for women who are watching their figure.

Jelly recipe:

  1. For 5 servings, you need 5 fruits of prickly pear of red or yellow color, 500 ml of water, 50 g of sugar and 20 g of gelatin. You will need 3 kiwi fruits and mint leaves.
  2. Peel the prickly pears from thorns and skin and cut into small cubes. Whisk in a blender.
  3. Put the water on fire and, after boiling, add the puree. Stir and add sugar.
  4. Cool the mixture and add gelatin to it. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Put on fire and stir constantly, do not boil the mixture.
  5. After dissolving the gelatin crystals, set aside the liquid.
  6. Peel the kiwi and cut into thin slices.
  7. Spread the fruit pieces over the bowls and top with the cactus broth. Place in the freezer for 2 hours.
  8. Serve in bowls, garnished with mint leaves.

Cactus Drink Recipes

In Mexico, barbed pears are used to prepare cocktails, mojitos and even alcoholic liqueurs. Thanks to the large amount of fructose, the cactus drink ferments well.

Opuntia tincture

Cactus tincture

The recipe is based on the use of vodka, which is infused with cactus fruits. For spice, add cinnamon, cloves and vanilla to the mass. The drink goes well with fruit and resembles a liqueur, though not so 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 fruits from the skin and thorns. Cut into small pieces or slices.
  • Place the fruits 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 distribute the sugar evenly throughout. Leave in a cool place.
  • After 21-28 days, strain the mixture through cheesecloth. Then pour into a container through a layer of fabric. You must achieve complete transparency. Served with citrus and tropical fruit infusion.

Non-alcoholic cocktail "Pink Panther"

Cocktail "Pink Panther"

It is a fruity drink that refreshes perfectly in the summer heat. Even children can drink it.

Drink recipe:

  1. Take 3 prickly pears and peel them.
  2. Peel a handful of cherries. Remove the tails from 200 g of blackberries.
  3. Pour all components into a blender and grind.
  4. Now you can strain through cheesecloth. It is necessary that the bones do not get into the cocktail.
  5. Squeeze the juice of a quarter of a lemon into a container. Add a handful of ice and chop in a blender.
  6. Pour the cocktail into glasses and dip the straws.

Cactus medicine recipes

Medicinal cactus infusions

In Africa and Mexico, the cactus is used medicinally. It is used to prepare syrups, decoctions and rubbing for coughs, bronchitis and varicose veins. In some settlements in Africa, shamans remained who use the cactus to treat almost all diseases.

Consider what kind of medicine you can make from a cactus at home:

  • Against cough… For the preparation of the remedy, the leaves of a green edible cactus are used. They must be cleaned of thorns and squeezed out a little juice. Mix equal amounts of honey, cactus juice and marshmallow. Take the drug three times a day before meals. Treats a mixture of bronchitis, tracheitis and even tuberculosis.
  • For eczema… The mixture is used to treat eczema, purulent wounds and abscesses. Remove needles and skin from green cactus leaves and chop in puree. Strain through cheesecloth. Mix one part cactus juice and 2 parts horseradish juice. Saturate a bandage or cloth with liquid and apply to the abscess. Change the compress every three hours.
  • For stomach ulcers and gastritis… Pour crushed cactus leaves (two tablespoons) with 500 ml of boiling milk. Introduce the peel from one tangerine. Close the mixture in a thermos and leave for 14 hours. Take 120 ml of liquid three times a day.
  • From sciatica… Peel a few cactus leaves from thorns and peels and grate. Rub the resulting porridge into sore joints. Cover the ointment with compress paper and let sit for 1 hour. It is recommended to apply compresses in the morning and in the evening. If you wish, you can leave the applique overnight.
  • For colds and SARS… Used a tincture of prickly pear. To prepare the potion, take three cactus leaves and peel them of 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 blossom and wrap the pot. Leave it overnight.Take 125 ml of the medicine in the morning and evening.

Keep in mind that all cactus medicines should not be taken on an empty stomach, as they irritate the walls of the stomach. How to cook a cactus - watch the video:

Despite the exotic origin of the cactus, this plant is gradually gaining popularity in our country. In some supermarkets you can find fruits on the shelves.

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