Processing Nopales

Cacti can be sticky business.

Processing Nopales

Nopales can be sticky - it’s true. But, when your front yard hands them to you, what choice do you have but to work with them?

The same succulent plant in my yard provides a plethora of prickly pear (tuna) that I have experimented with many times, but this was my first foray into the flat leaved nopales. The processing was leagues easier than their prickly fruit counterpart, which was refreshing and less painful, but they did have a pretty distinct sliminess that you have to get used to. We also tried pickling them, which helped with the sliminess a bit and both the grilled or pickled nopales were great in tacos and on chili. I think they definitely need to be eaten with something else to help mask their mucilaginous nature. Great flavor though!

To Process:

  1. Find the youngest, most soft and plump nopale, as it will make your life easier and be much tastier.
  2. Remove spines with a knife.
  3. Grill on high heat until blistering on both sides.
  4. Slice and eat with tacos or atop other such dishes.