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The Beauty of Cactus – Nature Photography in Mexico

The Beauty of Cactus - Nature Photographs in Mexico

It’s easy to see the beauty of cactus when you come
from a place where they are few and far between!

We’re down in Mexico visiting my in-laws right now and there are prickly pear cactuses EVERYWHERE!! Cactus is beautiful, edible and easy to grow. I took all of these cactus pics this morning in the little patch of plants my mother-in-law has growing by where they keep the cows.

She’s got a little collection of different prickly pear
varieties that are good for different things.

One variety has big, fat pads and no prickly spines at all. It’s bred especially for it’s thick, juicy cactus hearts (the inside of the pad with the thick skin cut off). There are some varieties that produce lots of thin, succulent cactus pad shoots (just slice off the spines and cut ‘em up and cook them with some dried chile, onion and cilantro – so tender!) Some varieties make better fruit than others. Some are weedy and not good for much of anything.

Cactus is a nutritious vegetable that’s said to be sort of a cure-all.

Since the remedy to almost any ailment is a healthy, vege-filled diet, I believe it!! Even with all the fancy cultivated varieties of prickly pear available, the people around here still harvest young shoots from the wild cactuses when they’re in season, continuing a long culinary tradition from before the Aztecs even thought of building their lost city on our mountain (el Cerro de Culiacan).

Welcome to the world of Cactus Beauty!!

The Beauty of Cactus - Nature Photographs in Mexico

The Beauty of Cactus - Nature Photographs in Mexico

The Beauty of Cactus - Nature Photographs in Mexico

The Beauty of Cactus - Nature Photographs in Mexico

The Beauty of Cactus - Nature Photographs in Mexico

Posted in: Authentic Living, Mexican Culture, Nature Photography


  • These photo’s are great…I have a prickly pear and no one around here knows how to pick and cook them…You get some serious needles if not careful … so how do you prepare them for eating…Thanks Fran

    • Hi Fran! Thanks :D If you’re going to eat a fresh, green one like the shoots in the photo: cut the pad from the plant, carefully slice off the spines with a sharp knife. It’s ready! You can either slice it in green-bean sized rectangles and fry up with some other veggies (they’ll release a bunch of slime, but still tasty). A better way is to boil the slices in salted water until tender (toss in half an onion and some garlic) and then drain and rinse. Now they won’t be swimming in a slime soup ;) Then fry up some other veggies and add the cactus and enjoy! (my mother-in-law’s traditional recipe is to fry the de-slimed cactus in a little oil and then add diced onion and cilantro. Lastly pouring in a salsa made by boiling a few dry red chile de arbol peppers until reconstituted and then blending this up with a little water. The cactus pads are tangy, so whatever veggies would go well with tangy :D Good luck!

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