What is a prickly pear or whether cactuses Are edible?
Probably, each person felt huge pleasure, being among plants in a garden, the wood, park or the natural reserve, enjoying beauty, a form and aromas of the diverse plants and flowers, even without suspecting that many of them can be eaten. There are countries in which many plants, as well as various flowers which, apparently, are not suitable for food at all are eaten throughout many centuries.
In Mexico, for example, use cactuses for preparation of various dishes. Yes, these prickly and huge plants. Of course, not all types of cactuses are suitable for food, but here the prickly pear just approaches for this purpose.
Though this ordinary-looking cactus meets in many countries of North and South America, and also in other parts of the world with droughty climate, it is not simple to define enough only by the form as far as it is valuable. Prickly pears differ in existence in an areola besides prickles also glokhidiya which at a touch pierce in skin and remain on fingers. The American Indians successfully get rid of them by means of the melted wax which, stiffening, separates from skin together with artful glokhidiya.
Young chlenik and fruits of many types of prickly pears with the local names “ nopal “ and “ Tuna “ sweet on taste - a favourite delicacy of Latin Americans. Some types of prickly pears which in Mexico more than 200 types, reach 2 - 5 m of height. Large kolesovidny flowers on a short tubular pedicel develop on one on an areola, settle down both on a top, and at the edges of chlenik. They get out of hand in the afternoon, strike with variety of shades, abundance of petals and stamens.
The small town of Milpa - the Viola, near Mexico City, - the ideal place for cultivation of these cactuses. Local farmers now even export them to other countries of the world. Annual fair during which it is possible to try various dishes from a prickly pear is carried out to Milp - the Viola.
In Mexico the escapes of a cactus which are already cleared and ready to the use, it is possible to buy practically everywhere, both in the small markets, and in modern supermarkets.
The escapes of a cactus intended for cooking have to be fresh and soft. Mexicans train them differently and give with many meat dishes. So, the Mexican cactus entered Mexican cuisine from time immemorial. Still ancient Aztecs and the Maya appreciated it a unique combination of flavoring and curative qualities. Leaves of this cactus not only possess fine taste, but also are rich with calcium and potassium. The use of this cactus in food, stimulates production of insulin in an organism.
Mexicans very much love marinated leaves of a prickly pear - “ nopalitos “. “ Nopalitos “ reminds taste of marinated cucumbers and paprika and therefore it is often used for preparation of vegetable salads, cold appetizers and also as a garnish to meat and fish dishes. The product is completely ready to the use in food.
But one of the most popular dishes it is considered from a fried cactus with a beefsteak. And for breakfast Mexicans traditionally cook fried eggs to which they add small cut cactus pieces.
Besides izmolody stalks of a cactus it is possible to make tasty salad: the boiled cactus is cut in cubes, add small cut tomatoes, onions, cilantro and mix all this, having added olive oil, vinegar and salt. At first the cactus can seem tasteless and unappetizing of - behind the knitting of a consistence, but if to add some hot Mexican sauce to it, it becomes quite nice to the taste …
the Prickly pear, as well as other useful plants, finds broad application and in medicine. For example, experts from the Mexican state institute of food, studying this useful plant, note that, among other things, it promotes decrease in the general level of cholesterol and lipoproteid of low density. Some physicians - researchers claim that this cactus helps at diabetes. Scientists continue to conduct researches and, perhaps, the world finds also about other useful properties of this plant out soon