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Nopales and Hot Sauce

March 8, 2020

Paddle cactus strips (left) and chilis.

My first adventure in foraging!

The nopales are an experiment. It’s the same paddle cactus that you see everywhere that also makes prickly pear fruit aka tuna (spanish). I’ve also seen a local brand of moonshine made out of paddle pulp, sort of like tequila is made of agave. Projects for another day!

I also grilled a couple paddles, commonly known as green steak. The recipes I read said not to peel the waxy skin off… but ugh! That’s bullshit. They have a great tangy flavor, quite interesting, but the waxy skin leaves a woody mash in your mouth. I’m gonna try grilling again with peeled ones.

Because of this, I’m worried that the skin will be a problem for the fermented pickle strips. When I’ve bought them in a jar they didn’t seem to have that. Maybe the lactic acid will break it down?

Fingers crossed!

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  1. Morgan March 12, 2020 @ 3:43 pm

    I fished out one of the cactus slices today… not bad! The lactic acid does seem to have broken down the skin some. The brine is all eeeeeew… very mucilaginous. I’m going to let this ferment go for another week to see if the acid will further soften the cactus skin and thin the goop.

    Seeing how goopy the cactus juice is makes me think about making my own hand sanitizer! Hard to find now with COVID-19 concerns. I’ve seen recipes that use 1 cup aloe to 3 cups alcohol. Aloe is just a succulent so why not paddle cactus goo?

    The hot sauce looks very promising! Tonight I’ll blend it up and try some on fish tacos.

  2. Morgan April 14, 2020 @ 9:36 am

    I took another run at this and had relaly great results!

    Don’t be afraid to use hot peppers. I did serranos, jalapeƱo and some unidentified… they came out great! Blended them up with garlic and onion into hot, medium, mild.

    For nopales, I peeled the next batch and they are much, much tastier. Highly recommended. I’m going to do them again with some garlic and onion now that I know what the plain cactus tastes like.

    I have almost entirely switched to a lower salt 2% brine for all vegetables. Works just fine for “high spoilage” vedge like peppers and okra so long as everything is pushed under the brine at all times. I highly recomment “pickling cups” for this, so much better than weights or spring things:

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