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Day 25: prickly

These pad cacti grew in my yard in Tennessee when I were a lass. I tried picking some. Once.

See, you think if you avoid the big spines, you’ll be okay. But they also have bzillions of little microscopic, hair-like spines that get into your fingers like raw fiberglass and make touch painful for days. Bastards.

Google tells me they’re called nopales and they’re a mainstay of Mexican cuisine. Here’s a recipe for pickled nopales. Anyone ever et them?


Comment from Randy Rager
Time: October 25, 2018, 9:09 pm

Nopales are delicious.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: October 25, 2018, 9:19 pm

You can buy the fruit (cactus pear) in the grocery stores here, along with the nopales themselves.
They fruit is “meh” raw, but I imagine someone (not a durnedyankee) who knows what to do with them could make em right tasty.

I too discovered when I came to West Texas that the obvious big spines are not your real enemy. Those little transparent spikey buggers take forever to come out (try removing them with a credit card scrapping sideways, and good luck).

Now, tell me they don’t grow over there. If they’ll survive the winter up in Tennessee they ought to survive in southern Merry Old. Or is that one immigrant England keeps out?

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: October 25, 2018, 9:22 pm

Well of course they don’t let them in, DurnedYankee. I mean, there’s no way those things could vote “Remain”, and they refuse to “groom” young lasses, so why would UK “leaders” want them???

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 26, 2018, 12:11 am

I’m not a fan of pickled things, so no nopales for me. But I see them in the grocery stores, and fresh cactus pads for sale in the produce section.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: October 26, 2018, 12:21 am

My folks live in AZ, down on the southern border…like you can see Mexico from the kitchen window. Nopales are served pickled, chopped and put into omelets or other eggs, chopped into salads, grilled and chopped on top of beans and cheese on tortillas, chopped into salsa….they’re good eats!

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: October 26, 2018, 12:45 am

I’m in the LA area of SoCal – I can see Mexico from my kitchen too. Pretty soon, I’ll see Honduras.

It’s so cool to travel Latin America without ever leaving home.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: October 26, 2018, 1:13 am

Tomfrompv- I feel your pain. The town my folks live in used to be a bucolic, small AZ town. We used to go into Mexico when we visited for some great food and tequila at some cheap prices. That was before the narcos killed the last 6 or 7 police chiefs and mayors. Now, my 84 year old mama drives with a gun in her lap and doesn’t dare stop at a stop sign/ stop light if there are “pedestrians” around.

Comment from musical mountaineer
Time: October 26, 2018, 6:21 am

El nopal es mi burritooooooooh!

El pescado del destino esta muerto en la casa del tontooooooh!

El tontooooooooh!

(The cactus is my sandwich. The fish of fate is dead in the house of the fool. The fool.)

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: October 26, 2018, 2:53 pm

Don’t know what to think now.
I got about 75% of that before the translation was provided.
4 years of high school German, wasted.


Comment from Sigivald
Time: October 26, 2018, 5:57 pm

I’ve had nopales in Mexican dishes, though I never cook with them myself.

I’m led to believe the eatin’ ones are picked young, where presumably both the flesh is more tender, and the spines less awful.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 27, 2018, 1:44 am



Is that Spanch? Or Frenish?

Comment from EZnSF
Time: October 27, 2018, 7:32 pm

Nopales are blah. But over the years I’ve made several batches of jelly from the fruit. Really good. I picked only one harvest myself, and won’t do that again. They come de-fanged at the store…

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