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Prickly Pear Cactus for Sale, and for Dinner

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The idea of eating cactus -- a plant covered in spikes -- might cause some to laugh or grimace, or run away. But a true Southwesterner knows that's all a ruse. Just strip off that rough exterior of certain varieties -- and a tasty, okra-like veggie is waiting to be eaten.

Nopalitos, or the small pads of a prickly pear cactus, are, in fact, a staple of Mexican cuisine and can be found in your front yard -- or (don't worry) already prepared at your local farmer's market.

The Santa Cruz River farmer's market in Tucson gained some national attention today for this rather unexpected form of desert cuisine, but something tells us this is not a culinary treat that will be sweeping the nation anytime soon. Though most wouldn't hesitate to drink it in vodka form, maybe you have to have lived through a lifetime of scorching summers to appreciate eating a delicacy that's so seemingly...well, prickly.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.