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Old 03-23-2012, 12:55 PM   #51
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Weeds! And I don't think any of them are edible.
Might be surprised. I was, when I actually started looking. I have an ongoing battle with pigweed (amaranth), plenty of dandelion, milkweed, lantana, chili pequin, mustang grape, dollarweed, all uninvited and within 50 feet of the back door. Elaeagnus (silverberry) that I planted without knowing the berries were edible. And no doubt a bunch more. And the arugula has escaped the garden and comes up everywhere now.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:56 PM   #52
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I know its still early to plant, but I couldn't resist. Bought another 8 aspargues plants, different kinds of parsley, and all kinds of colorful lettuce
Even if we get a cold spell these plants will survive
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:05 PM   #53
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Might be surprised. I was, when I actually started looking. I have an ongoing battle with pigweed (amaranth), plenty of dandelion, milkweed, lantana, chili pequin, mustang grape, dollarweed, all uninvited and within 50 feet of the back door. Elaeagnus (silverberry) that I planted without knowing the berries were edible. And no doubt a bunch more. And the arugula has escaped the garden and comes up everywhere now.
Hey, the Pilgrims used to hunt for their wild onions and other edible plants. You can play Pilgrim. I'll be the Indian.
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:36 PM   #54
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Oh, and I forgot the best, the prickly pear tunas that ripen deep red and can be juiced to make great jelly and iced drinks. Best harvested with tongs, and somewhat painful to clean. And poke around to run the rattlesnakes out first.

The nopals (pads) can be chopped or sliced and boiled or grilled for salad or frittatas or cooked with onions and peppers. There's even an expensive machine, a DESESPINADORA DE NOPAL, that despines and planes the pads. Sliced nopal is always available in the produce section. Tunas in season. But I've got a big and growing patch in the back. When I pick tunas, I toss a few around to spread the seeds.



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Old 03-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #55
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Oh, and I forgot the best, the prickly pear tunas that ripen deep red and can be juiced to make great jelly and iced drinks. Best harvested with tongs, and somewhat painful to clean. And poke around to run the rattlesnakes out first.

The nopals (pads) can be chopped or sliced and boiled or grilled for salad or frittatas or cooked with onions and peppers. There's even an expensive machine, a DESESPINADORA DE NOPAL, that despines and planes the pads. Sliced nopal is always available in the produce section. Tunas in season. But I've got a big and growing patch in the back. When I pick tunas, I toss a few around to spread the seeds.


Awesome...

I don't believe that is something we will be growing here though..
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:10 PM   #56
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My Mexican neighbor in Texas showed me how to clean and cook the pads. They were grwing all over my front yard. She would come over and pick them. At first I thought she was some sort of a nut case. But when you slice and cook them, it is like slicing peppers. Any recipe you would use peppers in, you can use the pads from this cactus plant. She had a very thick cotton pad that she made and would roll the fruit around in it to break off the spines. She used them to make jelly. She tried to teach me to make corn tortillas. Lost cause. Mine always fell apart. It was easier to just buy them. And it being Texas, you knew they were always fresh.
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Old 03-23-2012, 03:25 PM   #57
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Awesome...

I don't believe that is something we will be growing here though..
Probably not in the wild, but the family is quite cold tolerant, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are some around. They may look pretty bad in the spring, though. A close relative to these, with similar but differently shaped tunas, makes it in Massachusetts and Montana and in Canada. There are some found in Connecticut. They are all edible, and the seeds can be dried and ground for flour. The flesh can also be boiled down to a dark paste and then slightly fermented. Sliced, it can be good candied. They have to burn the spines off for modern sissy cattle to eat them, but old-time longhorns could deal with them themselves.

I also have some thornless, but they make poor tunas. If you run across one, gather a couple of pads, cut the base off, and let the wound dry and harden and stick it in the ground.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:18 PM   #58
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Okay, I have to ask. What part of a cactus is a tuna? I thought tuna was a fish.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:38 PM   #59
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I've never heard them called tuna either, TL. We can get pickled and fresh nopales at the store here, love them.

They're remarkably hardy. I recall visiting a friend's farm here in Iowa, where he had an arid patch of land, and the wild prickly pear cactus in bloom were breathtaking and prolific. I had no idea at the time that they grew here.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:26 PM   #60
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I'm hoping that it cools down at least a bit(I doubt it will) so that my tomatoes will give me a few more before the end of the season. I've got several hundred limes just growing larger than my thumbnail now, the ruby red is flowering and a pineapple is blooming and prepping to be eaten
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