PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS
Prickly Pear Cactus or 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.
This edible cactus has fleshy oval leaves (typically called pads or paddles) with a soft but crunchy texture that also becomes a bit sticky (not unlike okra) when cooked. Prickly pear cactus tastes similar to a slightly tart green bean, asparagus, or green pepper.
Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia spp.) was designated as the Official State Plant of Texas in 1995.