Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 180

Xoconostle (Sour Prickly Cactus): Today's new food is one that I had to do a bit of research on before I actually ate it. During this experiment, I've been lucky enough to not repeat anything, not even accidentally. However, I thought I was almost in danger of doing so when I got ready to eat this odd little cactus. I ate another kind of prickly cactus fruit way back during the first couple months of my blog, and the GF thought that this may have been the exact same thing. I don't know if I'd be able to live with myself if I screwed up and re-tried something, but sometimes it's hard to remember what I've eaten. Luckily, this one was different, so the crisis was averted. I really need to print out a list of what I've tried when I go shopping.

I noticed this xoconostle while shopping at the BHFM a couple days ago. I could barely pronounce the name, but it looked interesting enough to try. My previous experience with cactus fruit wasn't good, and the end result was just some sour pulp filled with teeth-crunching seeds. I hoped this one would prove to be better.
Upon first glance, this one looked noticeably different from the prickly pear cactus I tried before. The skin was an interesting blend of green/pink hues, and it was much smoother than the prickly version. I cut it in half, and the center was filled with a mass of reddish pulp and seeds. The outer later was a light yellow color, and looked to be fairly juicy. I scooped out a small spoonful of the pulp and gave it a try - wow, it was bitter, with almost zero sweetness. The seeds were almost too crunchy to be edible, and since I don't have dental insurance, I spit them out after sucking the pulp from them. Not so great.
The flesh was actually much different in texture, almost like a really under-ripe peach, but even more bitter in taste than the pulp. I've had the bad luck of picking a lot of bitter fruit over the past couple weeks, so I wasn't exactly thrilled about this. I tried a couple bites before giving up - oh well.

Apparently xoconostles are frequently used in salsas and syrups, and even sometimes candied or turned into marmalade. Maybe they aren't meant to be consumed raw? I'm not sure, but at least I gave it a shot.

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