Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: cacti with edible fruits that grow in my area?

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Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Feb 4, 2012 5:29 PM CST
We're in zone 7 Bledsoe county Tn. Seen some cacti in a few yards. I know there are cacti w/ edible fruits. We would like to eat more fruits here and make some really interesting jellys locally.
central Illinois
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jmorth
Feb 4, 2012 6:11 PM CST
Opuntia genus perhaps (Prickly Pear)
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 5, 2012 5:18 AM CST
I grow Opuntia humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear) here in Montgomery County, Tennessee. Good fruit producer.



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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Feb 5, 2012 9:12 AM CST
SongofJoy said:I grow Opuntia humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear) here in Montgomery County, Tennessee. Good fruit producer.



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Ooo I'm jealous. Where can I get some?
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 5, 2012 9:51 AM CST
You shouldn't have any problem at all growing this wonderful Opuntia. It's native here. Although they do grow quickly, I don't think you want to start from seeds if you are anxious to make jelly. Green Grin!

If you don't see any plants around your area to take large cuttings or pads, there are some online nurseries that carry them. The pads are heavy and not easy to ship so I don't know what the cost would be. I have tried to locate a couple of TN nurseries so shipping would be less within the state. So far, I've come up short. But you definitely will want to get several pads to start a patch when you find them.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Feb 5, 2012 12:23 PM CST
The fruit of the paddle cactus is called a Tuna in Spanish, they make excellent jelly and the peeled paddles of the cactus (nopal) can be eaten as well. A very good source of vitamins and said to lower blood pressure. I like them chopped up in scrambled eggs but they are also put in soups and salads. Watch out for the the thorns, here in Mexico you can buy the paddles in most grocery produce sections already peeled and dethorned.
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Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Feb 5, 2012 2:39 PM CST
I need to find someone with some locally or send a self addressed stamped box to some kind soul to put some pads in.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 5, 2012 3:20 PM CST
If you can find some O. humifusa there and take some nice big cuttings, that would be ideal. Let the cuttings callous over and heal for a couple of weeks before you plant them. If you don't find anything, let me know in a few months and I'll see what I can do.



The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Feb 5, 2012 3:46 PM CST
Try a local Mexican food market, they should have them and be willing to sell you a few paddles unpeeled. As said above, let them callous a bit and they should grow. Or, drive around the area where Mexicans live in your town. People from other cultures almost always want to group together. You might see some growing in a yard and most would be happy to let you have a paddle or two if asked.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
[Last edited by extranjera - Feb 5, 2012 3:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 5, 2012 4:25 PM CST
I agree
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Feb 5, 2012 8:33 PM CST
I agree on it.

highlandhermit
May 19, 2012 8:48 AM CST
what do they taste like? the paddle leaves i mean. i understand mexicans make candy and refreshing drinks from them. i wish i could try them but im in the wrong part of the world to do so. and i cant grow them cos i have young kids and a small garden.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
May 19, 2012 7:38 PM CST
Mostly I've eaten them cut up in soups and in scrambled eggs. Many people eat them steamed either hot or cold as a salad but the texture is a bit much for me, kind of like okra. They are often put into smoothies or vegetable/fruit mixtures for juice. Candy I haven't tried but I'm sure it exists, they make candy from almost everything here, most of it pretty good. They don't have much of a taste that I can describe, they are very bland. They have a definite consistency, it can be a little slimey. I think of them as a healthy filler. I may not be the best person to describe them, they aren't something I particularly like, I eat them but I don't crave them.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

highlandhermit
May 20, 2012 5:08 AM CST
thanks extranjera. i live in a part of the uk that has no access to "ethnic" foods. i regret not taking the chance to try various fruits and veg when i lived near london, but i was a teenager then and stupid lol.
ive managed to sample dragon fruit only recently, and i liked the delicate flavour. i will prob take the chance to get prickly pears when i spot them on a rare visit to london, but cactus pads are not sold for food in the uk so i was just intrigued.
i was considering buying some of the cactus plants to break up and prepare for cooking
but i think ill give it a miss, i dont want to be a pin cushion haha.
i was interested in making cactus jam/jelly but its not a big deal.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
May 20, 2012 6:29 PM CST
I'm pretty sure the jam is made from the fruit, the tunas. I could be wrong. I think I've seen the paddles sugared as candy, but again, I don't pay much attention to it as it is not a favorite. I will now though Smiling I'll keep my eyes out for it.

Personally, I wouldn't try the paddles unless they came already peeled and without thorns. Doing it without getting hurt is a talent you might have to learn young, the trial and error part could be painful. Every store here has a lady behind a kiosk peeling the nopales and you can get them whole or cut in strips. It's a lot easier.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Aug 23, 2012 5:15 PM CST
They grew wild in the empty fields near our house when I was I kid. I'd heard they were edible so I plucked a few paddles and peeled them to try. Like Jonna said, they are a bit slimy, but I don't think they're as slimy as okra! I thought they tasted a bit salty, not a lot of noticeable flavor, but the taste kind of reminded me of the way seawater smells, if that makes any sense. Now, that was not cooked or prepared in any fashion, just peeled and eaten raw. Ha ha, I munched on any plant in the neighborhood when I was young and stupid. Hilarious!
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Name: 'CareBear'

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Region: Pennsylvania
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Stush2019
Aug 24, 2012 4:40 PM CST
My brother lives in York, S.C. and I saw a few in a yard about a mile down the road. Sure enought, the man was nice to give me a large nice starter of seval branches. I just planted them up the same day and when I came back the following year to visit, they were over 5 feet tall and full of friut. The needles are not the bad part, it's the very tiny red hairs that is bad. I use welders gloves to handle them and put the paddle over a open flame to remove those red tiny spines. The fruit seems to need sugar to make it tasty. Box turtles love to eat this cactus. If I go down to visit my brother anytime soon I would be glad to get you a few starter paddles. I have the cold hardy ones here. They look almost alike but mine only get a paddle 5 to 8 inches across. I would be happy to send you some of mine here it you want them. Mime bloom yellow water lily like flowers in the spring. My friend is sending me some that bloom pink. How nice.
Stush
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Sep 1, 2012 6:06 AM CST
Different color flowers would be great as long as it can handle 6 farenhite winters every few years

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dogpack
Sep 1, 2012 1:57 PM CST
I'm all for eatable cactus of any kind. I have been sick recently and wouldn't you know, some kind person sent a box of plants to me which made me feel like it was Christmas. Actually, any plant which needs a home provided it is happy in the house is welcome at my home. I would rather make room for a plant than to have someone throw it out just because they don't want the plant any more. Hurray! Group hug
Name: 'CareBear'

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Region: Pennsylvania
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Stush2019
Sep 7, 2012 3:31 PM CST
Phillip, If you want a few paddles, cmail me and befor it gets cold, could go out regular mail for a lot less postage.

Vivian, my pleasure. Makes me happy to make others happy.

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