Edible Succulent

Although it may be hard to believe, cacti and other succulents are excellent food sources for both people and livestock. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how to harvest them to use them in the kitchen is scarce. We may even have different plants at home, and we can consume safely and deliciously if we follow the correct recipes. Next, we will show you a list of some plants and their fruits that you can incorporate into your diet without problems. These are edible succulents.

Edible Succulents-SC Prickly Pear used along with fruits to enhance taste
IG@prickly_pear_est_2020/

Prickly Pears- an important edible succulent


First of all, we have the Prickly Pears; these are the O. Ficus plant’s fruits. They are trendy fruits, fleshy, and are suitable for consumption in raw or processed form. These also have great nutritional value and easy production. It is even possible to make jams thanks to their taste and arrangement. Sometimes it is possible to see its sale in organic markets. The only problem that its consumption presents is the presence of numerous seeds inside the fruit; these can make it a bit difficult to prepare by-products or their use in recipes and their consumption in raw.

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Mammillarias Image: IG@los_cactus_de_jandro

Fruits of Mammillarias


These are small fruits with bright colors and a delightful flavor; they are usually harvested mainly for consumption raw instead of elaborating derivative products. Unfortunately, due to their small size, they are challenging to produce on a commercial scale. Preserving once harvested can be difficult, so it is recommended to consume them as soon as possible.

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Dragon Fruits: IG@dragon_.fruits

Dragon Fruits

These are the fruits that the different species of Hylocereeae offer. They are generally large in size, red in color. Inside they have a white and grainy body, filled with tiny pipes; they can be subtle but delightful.

Opuntia

These are fruits that one can eat in a wide variety of dishes. They are original and traditional in Mexico; in fact, they form an essential part of its gastronomy, being that these cooked fruits are one of the traditional Mexican dishes. Popularly known as nopal, it is an important fruit that has been given edible, medicinal, and religious use. It was a fundamental ingredient in dishes in Central America that suggests extensive culinary use, which involves consuming its fruits, the prickly pear, and leaves. Their prickly appearance may give them a dangerous appearance when consuming them, but there is no reason to be scared; it is not that difficult.

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Opuntia: IG@terrapod

Euphorbia Balsamífera

It is one of the scarce species of Euphorbias that are not toxic. In ancient times they were used as chewing gum and believed that they used it for dental hygiene. When it comes to growing this plant for consumption, we mustn’t confuse it with another of the same kind since many of these other Euphorbias look and produce almost the same fruits. Still, if consumed, these can cause a dangerous irritation of any mucosa that can even be fatal.

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IG@mas.que.cactus

Ferocactus- Edible Succulent

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Ferocactus: IG@cactusdediego


This classification is divided into two groups, one of these is those with fleshy fruit; in this case, the pulp they contain is consumed; it has a sweet and pleasant taste. On the other hand, there are those with non-fleshy fruit; in this case, the outer layer and the seeds are discarded; this layer has a flavor of sour apples that can be delicious for lovers of this type of taste.

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Garambullo Image: IG@unamamavegana

Garambullo

It is the fruit of the Myrtillocactus, the fruit has a small size and a vivid reddish color, and they have a somewhat sweet taste. Thanks to the flavor that one can use to make sub-products such as jams.

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Cereus Image: IG@karlos_kytkos

Cereus fruits

These have the appearance of tomato; its pulp is very abundant in each fruit. The flavor is very rich in sugars, and one can use it both in the preparation of jams and in the preparation of desserts in some countries of South America.

Pachycereus fruits

These fruits under a peculiar, somewhat thorny cover; when we remove them, we will see an edible sweet pulp with a flavor that, although it is a bit strange initially, its sweetness becomes pleasant over time.

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Aloe Vera Image: IG@kanafrik

Aloe vera

Aloe vera traditionally considered medicinal is an edible succulent originally from Kenya . It brings healing in its topical use and oral use as a purgative and laxative. Its application has spread to other areas as a food supplement and even as a culinary one in recent years. Despite different opinions about its consumption, mainly based on the fact that some parts of the plant may present astringent substances, constant direct consumption or derived from Aloe vera products may not be as beneficial as is believed.

However, it is essential to note that this plant’s pulp does not present any of the substances above but preferably has beneficial healing and culinary properties. It means that, by peeling the leaves, we could use their interior content without fear or risk. This pulp, contrary to the plant’s skin, has a mild flavor with a mucilaginous texture; thanks to this characteristic, there are many drink recipes whose main ingredient is this pulp and soft on the palate.

Portulacaria Afra- A very good Edible Succulent

It is an edible succulent that, like other plants with edible fleshy leaves, has high water content. The palatal properties of the South African Portulaca Afra have led to its traditional use to prevent dehydration in arid regions. It has been exploited medicinally in ancient times. Consumed and used not only as food for elephants but also in South African gastronomy. Its leaves have a high oxalate content that crystallizes, making it difficult to assimilate by the kidney (like spinach or yucca); it has vitamins and minerals good for health.

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Hylocereus: IG@rociocontreclaux

Hylocereus- another Edible succulent

This last species is not edible properly but rather ornamental; it is worth mentioning its close relationship and similarity of its stems, flowers, and fruits with the pitahaya. It is a plant of the endemic genus of Central and South America. Traditionally since pre-Columbian times, this species has been consumed both raw and processed, also used in the preparation of desserts. It also has nutritional properties that have led to its use as a dairy fermenter and antioxidant. Its fruits are aromatic with a smooth and pleasant flavor. The youngest stems and flower buds are also edible.

Something significant to remember is that succulents are sold solely or primarily as ornamental plants in many parts of the world. Therefore, they can be treated with phytosanitary products that are not suitable for human consumption and can be harmful to health. They expel all these phytosanitary products and begin to produce fruits suitable for human consumption, whether raw or processed.