Day 309 of 365

Tweezers required

I have been in Colorado for over a week and every time I drive to town I see rows of cactus plants against the fence line. On day 76 I ate a prickly pear which is the less dangerous treat on top of a cactus plant.

That wasn't enough of a challenge.

For my 309th day I foraged for nopales (cactus), cut, cleaned, cooked and ate them.

Why?

After so many days and experiences this one actually makes sense. I'm in the desert area of Colorado and the plants are growing in the back yard. They should be eaten.

I did a little research and although there are many ways to prepare the pads I didn't want to take any chances with the spines. I remember watching videos of creatures in the wild trying to remove those needles from their little animal faces. I didn't want that on my hands so I used eighteen inch tongs through the entire experience.

I was not successful as the base of every spine has an adorable tuft of microscopic fuzz called glochids. These are the little suckers they should warn you about because once they touch you you're screwed.

I decided to take all of the skin off of my pads because the thought of swallowing the fuzz FREAKED me out. If you watch the video you'll see this was a very slow process. I edited it at 20x's normal speed to keep it moving along.

Once everything was cleaned and cut I sautéed them in coconut oil with salt and pepper. They taste wonderful and much like the aloe on day 33 there is a bit of a slime factor. After all the work was done I read an article that suggests boiling the bits before cooking them.

Remember for next time, slime boiling.

I tried to think how I might use cactus in my current recipes, potato salad and salsa came to mind. If I can find the pads at a grocery I might experiment a little bit more.

Day 309

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