Cooking With The Prickly Pear Cactus
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Cooking With The Prickly Pear Cactus
Last updated 6/12/2012 1:17:42 AM. Recipe ID 48207. Report a problem with this recipe.
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      Title: Cooking with the prickly pear cactus
 Categories: Info, Kooknet
      Yield: 1 Servings
  The prickly pear cactus plant grows wild throughout the southern
  region of Arizona where the air is warm and dry. It produces large,
  green, succulent pads that bear plump, juicy fruits in the late
  summer months.
  Prickly pear pads (nopales) have been eaten by the Native Americans
  for centuries.  The pads are picked from the cactus but nust be
  handled with care; the hairlike spines that project from the pads can
  easily get caught in your skin.
  Cactus pads are found in most Mexican markets.  It is better to
  choose the smaller and thicker deep-green pads because they are the
  most tender. Usually fresh cactus pads ar esold whole. For
  convenience, however, they may also be purchased in jars already
  diced and even precooked in their natural juices.
  To clean the whole pads, hold them with a kitchen towel and remove the
  spines and rounded outside edge of the pads with a small paring knife
  or vegetable peeler.
  Traditionally, prickly pear fruits are harvested in late summer. A
  brush made from wild grass is used to remove their fine, hairlike
  prickers and soft spines. To remove the prickers in a more
  conventional way, hold the fruit with metal tongs under cold running
  water and scrub the prickers off with a vegetable scrubbing brush.
  When selecting fruits from the marketplace, be careful to choose
  those that are soft but not overripe.  The may range in color from
  greenish-yellow to bright red, the latter being the ripest and best
  to eat. If the spines have not been removed, be careful when handling
  the fruits; the spines are small and difficult to remove from your
  hands. If only green fruits are available, store them at room
  temperature until they ripen to red.
  To extract the juice from the fruits, wash them thoroughly under cold
  running water, cut off the ends, and cut in half lengthwise. Place
  then in a food processor and puree to a fine pulp. Press the pulp
  through a fine sieve, using a wooden spoon or spatula to remove the
  seeds, which should be discarded.  Use the juice according to recipe
  instructions. Twelve prickly pears make approximately 1 cup ofjuice.

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Recipe ID 48207 (Apr 03, 2005)

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