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Nopales - Nopalitos - Tender Cactus


Nopales - Nopalitos - Tender Cactus

Nopales and Nopalitos, are Mexicans favorite food for generations, and it’s the ideal choice of food for anyone who’s looking for healthy meals and authentic cuisine. Nopales pronounced [noh-POH-lays] are native to Mexico, where the nopalli (nahuatl word for nopales) have been favored, eaten and grown as a vegetable since before the Spanish arrived. Nopal means cactus in Spanish, Nopales is used to describe a “cactus stem,” and Nopalitos are the pads once they are cut up and ready to consume. Two food crops derive from the prickly pear cactus: the nopalitos which are the cactus pads and the other is the fruit of the cactus or prickly “pear” and the Nopales which are flat, fleshy tender hand-sized young pads, that can be green or purple, their thorns are carefully removed, edges are cut off and washed, then sliced into squares or strips, cooked until tender and are eaten frequently in a variety of Mexican dishes.

If you’re preparing fresh nopales, make sure the thorns are carefully removed, edges are trimmed and cut off, sliced into strips or squares depending on how you’re going to prepare them, and put the pieces in a pot with salted boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes. When the nopales are ready, remove the water and rinse with cold water. Your nopalitos are now ready to be used in any dish or recipe you like.

Nopales are at their peak in the spring, they have a light, slightly tart, green bean flavor with a crisp mucilaginous texture. To be consumed, Nopales are generally cut into strips (called nopalitos), cut into small pieces or diced. Canned or bottled versions of nopales are sold, but in Mexico, nopales are mostly sold fresh. Nopales can be eaten grilled or boiled and are used in many Mexican dishes such as huevos con nopales (eggs with nopal), "tacos de nopales", "carne con nopales" (meat with nopal), as a vegetable in soups, chilies, in salads with Panela Cheese or simply on their own. You can find Nopalitos in jars and cans in any online and grocery store that sells Mexican Foods.

MexGrocer.com is proud to bring you a selection of Jarred nopalitos from Dona Maria, Embasa and La Costena, so you can choose you favorite brand of nopales and know that each nopalito you eat is full of the flavor, quality and authenticity you are looking for.

Cleaning and preparing the Nopales isn’t easy, is a troublesome and sometimes painful process, but if the fear of cactus pads thorns has turned you off from trying those fresh “Nopalitos” you see at the produce section of your grocery store, now there’s a handy set of tools that takes the pain out of cactus thorn removal. MexGrocer.com is proud to bring you the Cactus / Nopalitos Knife Set with Cutting Board. It makes an excellent gift every kitchen should have and for your convenience it already comes packaged as a gift pack. This knife set comes with two knives, a tool for holding the Nopal in place while removing the thorns and a cutting board. The holding tool totally prevents the hand from coming in contact with thorns as one tries to hold the Nopal. Now anyone can carry on the tradition of preparing all those delicious Mexican “Nopalitos” dishes, hassle and pain free.

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