Approximately 6-7 cactus pads per lb. (about 10 lbs.)
Fresh cactus pads (aka cactus leaves, cactus paddles, nopales) are a vegetable commonly consumed in Mexico, often sliced into thin strips called nopalitos. They have a slightly tart, green bean/green pepper-esque flavor and a crisp/chewy texture.
Wrap fresh cactus leaves tightly in plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator.
Up to a week.
RECIPES & TIPS
Before preparing nopales, you first need to remove their thorns. To remove thorns from cactus pads, lay one down on a cutting board. While wearing gloves, run the point of a sharp knife around them to cut off the outermost edge. Then turn the knife and use the sharp edge to scrape the thorns off of the pad, repeating as necessary until they're all gone. Any stubs can usually be removed with a vegetable peeler.
Often sliced into strips before cooking (though they can be consumed raw), cactus pads can be simmered in water or stock, steamed, sautéed, grilled, or battered and deep fried. They’re great in salads, tacos (especially with grilled skirt steaks), egg dishes, salsas and soups.
Pair cactus pads with corn, tomatoes, chile peppers, cilantro, beef, eggs, and/or citrus fruit.