That’s right, not a herb or a spice. I wanted to share about this today because I think it is on the verge of being the next big health discovery that everyone will want to give a try. 

Nopal or nopalito is a cactus that grows in Mexico. The prickly pear stem is shaped like a beaver tail. It is actually a Mexican vegetable. It’s a soft pulpy texture and has a pleasant flavor with incredible medicinal benefits. A skinned nopal can be used in place of aloe vera for bruises and burns. It is an anti-inflammatory and a diuretic, It is very soothing to the digestive system. Its most amazing use is as a hypoglycemic tonic. Studies have shown that nopales are effective for type 2 diabetes and hypoglycemia. They have also been found to lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. The beaver tail pads are rich in vitamins A and C as well as B-complex vitamins and iron.

Nopal is great served with eggs, tomato and cheese dishes. It is a favorite Mexican food with scrambled eggs for Lent. They are  used for Taco filling and cut into narrow strips and added to soups and stews. Nopales can be cut into thicker strips, dipped in batter and rolled in bread crumbs or flour and fried like french fries.

When purchasing Nopales, one needs to look for them to be stiff and firm, never droopy. Best is about eight inches long and four inches wide. Larger ones are quite often fibrous. They can be refrigerated for several weeks.

I asked about them at the health food store and the girl knew right away what I meant. As I don’t live in Mexico, I haven’t been able to cook with them but they seem to be starting to appear in the health food stores in a powder form. I also stumbled across a new direct sales company that has fermented it and it is in a liquid form. I intend to find out more about that one. If it as good as all this says, maybe it could be a good part-time business.

Till next time :)