What Does Cactus Taste Like? (Should You Eat It?)

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Is It Healthy To Eat Cactus

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Have you ever tried eating a cactus plant before? 

Sounds scary, huh!

While this desert plant may look dangerously beautiful, covered in prickly spines or sharp spikes, they are perfect for our guts and digestion. But you’d want to know what does cactus taste like before trying one, right?

Cacti has a mild sour taste and a sticky, crunchy texture like most green vegetables — notably the asparagus. Some might taste sweet and tangy like strawberries, such as the Old Lady Cactus.

There are over 100 cacti species in the world – and unfortunately, not all of them are edible. 

The Prickly pear is the most common edible cacti from the Opuntia species and is famous for its fruit. While the cactus pads have that traditionally sour taste, the fruit is more of a bubbly punch. 

What Is Cactus?

Cacti are Xerophytes plants, a unique plant that adapts to hot and dry climates, such as the desert. Most cacti are succulents, which store water in them. However, not every cactus is a succulent plant.

Furthermore, they are a member of the Cactaceae family, in the order Caryophyllales. Cactus plants have about 127 genera, with approximately 1750 known species scattered across the globe. 

Mexico has the most significant number and variety of species; the rest are spread across North and South America, Alberta southward and British Columbia, Chile, and Argentina. 

Lastly, cactus may come in a different form. But the sharp thorns and thick skin are their mottoes. Some are round and short; others are thin and tall. 

Most cactus bloom beautiful flowers at night that are gigantic and pollinated by bats and moths. Meanwhile, others bear colored edible fruits.

Is It Healthy To Eat Cactus?

What Does Cactus Taste Like

YES, eating TRUE cactus is safe and healthy for our system. You can eat them as veggies after removing the spines. And these edible cacti contain vitamins A, C, E, iron, and calcium, to mention a few. 

In addition, they can help reduce inflammation in the body. Research has found that taking cactus extract after drinking much alcohol reduces hangover symptoms like vomiting, dry mouth, or nausea. 

Before wrapping it up over here, let’s mention a few cactus plants, both edible and inedible, below:

  • Moon Cactus
  • Bunny Ears Cactus
  • Christmas Cactus 
  • Star Cactus
  • Old Lady Cactus
  • Saguaro Cactus
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Queen of the Night
  • Totem Pole Cactus
  • Moon Cactus
  • Barrel Cactus
  • Thanksgiving Cactus
  • Queen of the Night
  • Prickly pear
  • The San Pedro Cactus
  • The Peruvian Torch
  • Peyote Cactus
  • The Barrel Cactus
  • The Cholla Cactus

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Shouldn’t You Eat A Cactus?

While there are healthy reasons behind eating a cactus, the disadvantages of eating the wrong cactus could scare you off. 

Remember, cacti are Xerophytes plants. And since water is a precious resource in the desert regarding their spines, most of them protect their spongy flesh with potent alkaloids and acids.  According to science, these chemicals are too acrid for most people, as they tax the kidneys.

Can You Eat Cactus Pads Raw?

Nopales or nopalitos are the pads of the nopal cactus. And YES, you can eat them. The nopalitos or nopales (the pads) of a Nopal cactus are edible when raw. It resembles a green pepper when diced. Many people turn them into jams, juice, or tea.

Is It Good To Have Cactus At Home?

Cacti are homely plants, just like most succulents. They add curb appeal to our space and provide a wide range of health benefits. 

Some of which are:

  • Boosting your productivity
  • Purify the air
  • Make you feel happy and more
  • Enhance your memory
  • Can be therapeutic 
  • They can reduce indoor and outdoor background noise

Conclusion: What Does Cactus Taste Like?

If you’ve read up to this point, congratulations! But I hope you still remember what cactus taste like? Don’t forget there are many cacti, and not all are of them are edible. Aren’t you curious for one bit? What kind of cactus is edible?

I know it is safe to eat the cholla, prickly pear, and dragon fruit cactus. Although, these are not the only edible cacti. But it would help if you avoided some of the most notorious cactus-like peyote, Bolivian, and San Pedro cactus.

They are toxic and SHOULD NOT be eaten!

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