Do you know what a nopal- prickly pear is and how to eat it?

Do you know what a nopal- prickly pear is and how to eat it?

This brillantly colorful cactus fruit is trendy in the culinary world. But as famous Chefs like Rick Bayless, Owner of Frontera Grill and Roxanne Klein and Charlie Trotters, Owner of Charlie Trotters utlize it in savory recipes, this little Mexican fruit will find its way into your kitchen soon.

Nopal is actually the Spanish word for the prickly pear cactus fruit.  There is more than one part of this cactus that is edible.  But this oval shaped pear with thorns offers a sweet and sour taste.  The nopal is a very versatile fruit.  Other than being used for smoothies, in salads and jellies, it has medical properties.    It comes in a wide variety of colors:  green, purple, yellow, red.

Used for:

1. Type II Diabetes

2.  High cholesterol

3. Alcohol hangover

4.  Colitis

5.  Diarrhea

The nopal is very high in vitamin A, B and C and betalains (also found in beets and swiss chard), another one of the good phytochemicals and therefore reduces glucose levels (hence their medical properties).  Since these cool looking fruits have wonderful antioxidants in them, it is another fruit to rely on for super shakes.  They are great addition to a shake made with any of the berries.

The easiest ways to add this cactus fruit to your diet is :

1.  In a salsa

2.  In a  fusion drink

3.  In a salad dressing

4.  Chopped and cooked with fish or chicken

5.  Part of a stew

How to cut a Nopal.  (They a super sharp, gloves suggested)

1.  Remove the spikes with a pearing knife.   Cut down to the base of the spike. Make sure you do not prick your fingers.

3.  Then slice in the long stripes.

Here is a link to a great write up on how they should be eaten.

 

 

 

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