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Article Annelies Zijderveld
Removing thorns from nopales

Food Genius: Removing Thorns from Nopales

Have you ever tried nopales? We like them so much at Food Literacy Center that they were voted our 2016-2017 Veggie of the Year! They’re an ingredient staple in Mexico and are eaten in salads, with shrimp or in a Cactus and Corn Salsa that we love to eat with corn chips. Also known as cactus paddles, there’s one prickly point you have to first overcome before you can eat them. You don’t have to be a Food Genius to remove thorns from nopales, but you will feel like one after learning how easy it is to de-thorn the nopales yourself.

The method is simple:

Removing thorns from nopales

1) You can wear gloves or just carefully place your fingers on the paddle holding it firmly.  With the other hand grip a chef’s knife.

 

Removing thorns from nopales

 

 

 

 

2) Slip the tip of a chef’s knife gently under each thorn node to peel it off.

Removing thorns from nopales

 

 

 

 

 

3) Keep removing thorns from nopales until the paddle is clear of them. To remove the ones on the sides, slide the knife down the side, shaving off the skin wihere there are thorns.

Removing thorns from nopales

 

 

 

 

4) To get them ready to eat: place the nopal flat on a cutting board and slice the paddle into long thin strips.

Removing thorns from nopales

 

 

 

 

 

5) Dice each strip and you’re done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more recipes: www.foodliteracycenter.org.

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