Tuesday, July 03, 2007

7 Things You Can Make Out Of Cactus

If you're like me, you probably have not thought about what you could make with cactus leaves or the fruit from cactus. However... if you live in the desert southwest, you will see these items in the local grocery stores. I often wondered what could be made with cactus.

Finally... now you know at least 7 things you could do with cactus or cactus blooms.

How To Make Cactus Soap

The most common cactus used in bath and body products is prickly pear, known for its conditioning and skin-soothing properties. Prickly pear can also be used as a mild acne treatment. You can find cactus juice, extract, and even leaves or puree at health stores, and at some beauty supply outlets. If you have trouble locating a retailer, there are a few online stores that carry it as well.

Cactus makes an excellent addition to bar soap. It has hardening properties when combined with heated glycerin, and adds emollients that are kind to the skin. Here's how to make a melt-and-pour cactus soap.
Cactus Salsa

For a real crowd pleaser at a picnic or party make this cactus salsa ahead of time and allow it to blend its flavors in the refrigerator for a few hours or more. Just mix all the ingredients above that you can obtain. Some hot peppers are always in favor here in the SouthWest, but other folks may need it tamed down on the hot peppers some. One can use this as a dip for tortilla chips, or a relish and garnish on burritos, meat dishes or a general spicy condiment.
Cactus Breakfast Burrito

This is one of my favorite recipes, the cactus mixes very well with many ingredients and tastes very good. Take the cleaned and diced cactus and add to some diced potatoes that are already pretty well cooked with your favorite spices including garlic and onions. After a minute or so add a couple of fresh eggs to the mix and scramble all together well. Heat some tortilla shells and spoon the mixture into the shells, add salsa roll up and enjoy.
serves four

Preparing Edible Cactus
Edible cactus is also known as nopales (no-PAH-les), nopalitos or cactus pads. This vegetable is popular in Mexico and other Central American countries, parts of Europe, the Middle East, India, North Africa and Australia. Its popularity is increasing in the United States where it can be found at Mexican grocery stores, specialty produce markets and farmer’s markets.
Stir-Fried Edible Cactus With Tomatoes and Herbs

4 cactus leaves
1 jicama
1 chili seeded and finely diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Make Your Own RainStick

The rain stick is a musical instrument from South America. Traditionally, rain sticks are made from the wood skeleton of a cactus. First, the thorns are pulled off and pushed back through the soft flesh of the cactus. Then the cactus is left in the sun to dry--with the thorns on the inside. Later, the hollow cactus is filled with small pebbles, and the ends are sealed with pieces of wood.

Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly

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