Have you ever eaten Xoconostle Cactus fruit? Or maybe you’ve never seen this plant bear fruit. Cactus is a plant that grows a lot in the desert and it is resistant to heat, which is why this plant is suitable for growing in the desert and does not like a lot of water. This plant also bears fruit and tastes good. One of the cactus plants that bear fruit is Xoconostle Cactus.
The Xoconostle Cactus plant bears fruit at the tips of its nopales and the fruit is sometimes stacked up to a dozen. The size of the fruit is small, about 4 cm. Want to know more about Xoconostle Cactus, let’s look at the following review.
Description and Taste
Xoconostle Cactus fruit grows on the tip of the leaves (napoles) or is called paddle cactus. In one group of fruit can sometimes grow up to a dozen in number. But this depends on the growth and fertility. The fruit if you look at it tapers to a point like a pear shape but small. The Xoconostle Cactus fruit is about 4 to 4 cm in diameter and about 5 to 7 cm in length.
The skin of the cactus fruit is pale green, and the color will change little by little until it reaches a pale pink color. If you see a red Xoconostle Cactus fruit, this means it is ripe and ready to be harvested.
See more: Gum Drops Grapes: Facts, Nutrition and History
This fruit is sometimes like a prickly dragon fruit or yellow dragon fruit, or like a prickly pear. Xoconostle Cactus is also covered with small and fine spines on the fruit. When these thorns are removed, the fruit will be left with circular scars. The texture of the fruit (after peeling) is juicy and soft. The Xoconostle variety has seeds that are centered at one point and this is different from some types of cacti whose seeds are spread all over the inside of the fruit.
The center of this cactus fruit is bright red with edible seeds adorning the inside. Maybe it’s like a passion fruit seed. The taste is a bit sour and delicious, especially the watery texture.
Seasons and availability
Xoconostle cactus are usually harvested in late summer and during the fall season. So, these are annuals with the gum drops grapes plant.
Current Facts about Xoconostle Cactus
Its name is Xoconostle (pronounced choko-nose-leh), you can say this is a kind of cactus cousin to prickly pear. In botany, this cactus plant is classified as Opuntia matudae. The word for his name “xococ” is derived from the ancient Nahuatl language which means ‘sour’. This can be a differentiator from sweet cacti such as cactus species Opuntia species.
Also see: A Guide To Choosing Apple Fruit
So, from the name “Xoconostle” we can tell that this is not a sweet cactus, but the taste is a bit sour but tempting, let alone the watery texture. Sometimes, Xoconostle cactus is also called “Tuna Agria”, this is one source of betalains. Betalain is a phytonutrient that has an important role in making cactus dark red or dark red in its seeds.
Nutritional Value of Xoconostle
What about the overall nutrition, is Xoconostle cactus suitable for consumption and made as a healthy food.
Xoconostle fruit is rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin C, betalain, which functions as antioxidants. This fruit, like beets, also contains betalain pigments that act as important antioxidants in fighting free radicals in the body. It also acts as an anti-microbial that is useful in keeping the body and immune system good.
Talking about nutrition, Xoconostle cactus fruit is high in antioxidants even higher than the antioxidants found in red plums, raspberries, and strawberries. We know that antioxidants are very important in the process of cell recovery and prevention of free radicals from damaging body cells. This is good for preventing cancer, preventing premature aging such as preventing the onset of wrinkles before their time.
While Xoconostle seeds are also rich in nutrients that are full of fiber. So, it is better to consume Xoconostle fruit along with the seeds as well. In addition, Xoconostle cactus fruit also contains vitamin E and carotenoids, this can be seen from the sour taste it has.
Also see: 15 Health Benefits of Rambutan Fruit
The use of Xoconostle fruit is usually used in salsas and sauces to give it a sour taste, there is also a use in Mole De Olla in Mexican food. To bake cactus in the oven, remove the skin. But if you want to bake traditionally, then leave the skin on and peel off once it is cooked. How to peel it is very easy, cut the fruit and pull the skin or spoon the flesh.
The use of Xoconostle cactus flesh is usually in making jelly, jam, or making chutneys. Great to add to drinks or as an important ingredient for making drinks. For those of you who like smoothies, you can try using a little cactus for a sour taste.
The juice from the fruit of the xoconostle cactus is also very delicious to combine with foods such as chicken, beef, or to accompany grilled fish. Peel the cactus, remove the seeds, fry with the addition of moljacete and paprika. It will be a delicious sauce to accompany your meal. You can also add garlic and onions.
Some locals make cactus fruit as sweets, preserved or dried. For refrigerated storage, fresh Xoconostle cactus fruit to last for 5 days.
Ethnic and Cultural Info
Xoconostle cactus fruit is mostly found in Mexico, sometimes in the wild or in people’s gardens. It is very easy to find this cactus fruit and they usually use this fruit as a healthy snack. Sprinkle with chili powder and lemon juice and then dry and make a healthy snack to try.
They use this sour cactus fruit as an ingredient in their traditional aguas diet. However, in a modern way, Xoconostle cactus fruit has been used as the main ingredient in making many types of jams, syrups and liquors.
Geography and History
The Xoconostle cactus fruit is very popular in central Mexico, and this fruit is nothing new. They have been using cactus fruit as daily food for a long time and even centuries ago.
This plant is productive if grown in areas with semi-arid climates, such as those in northern and central Mexico and including areas along the Gulf of California. Xoconostle cactus plant has many varieties and even more than 15 cultivars in Mexico. But plant experts predict there are still other wild varieties of cactus plants that are not yet known.
Among the many varieties that grow in Mexico there are two varieties that are cultivated commercially there. This is the Cuaresmeño and Burro variety. The fruit of this plant will then be used as an ingredient for making drinks, while for daily food, this is only limited to the flesh of the fruit. While the seeds and skin are set aside as waste. But if you want, you can eat the seeds which are rich in fiber content. The skin and seeds are indeed a source of high fiber and antioxidants, so now beverage companies are researching how they can utilize the seeds and skins of the cactus so that they are no longer a waste, but can be used as raw materials in the form of whole fruit.
The availability of Xoconostle cactus fruit is only limited to the area of origin. It can be found in grocery stores and farms in Mexico and America only. Maybe this fruit has not been exported to foreign countries such as Asia. This plant is found growing wild in their area. But some people in Arabia like Egypt, they also grow cacti, and the fruit is still for daily consumption purposes.