Nopal, also commonly known as prickly pear fruit that belongs to the family of cactus. It is native to the southwestern regions of the United States. Nopales are the small flat leaves of the prickly pear plant. They are native to the southwestern regions of the United States. Their taste is similar to are often likened to green beans and asparagus. There are many different ways to use Nopal. It adds to the delight of bubble gums, candies, and jellies. It is rich in many nutrients and antioxidants and serves medicinal purposes too.
Does Nopal go bad? How to tell if it has gone bad? If any such questions pop up in your mind, you have come to the right place. Continue reading the article to know all you need to know about Nopal.
How to store Nopal?
Nopal can be stored by simple methods. The fruits are eaten fresh or as juice. They retain their crispy flavor if stored correctly. The shelf life of Nopal is short, so you should keep a check if it has gone bad. Always look for the freshest variety of Nopals for adequate storage. The fresher they are, the longer they last. If there are molded ones in your stock, you’ll soon get into trouble.
Every method has its pros and cons. All the methods are not meant for long-term storage. You should choose your method depending on your need and requirements. Some methods to store the fruit are enlisted below.
Store in pickled form
Nopales can be pickled for maintaining the best quality. This is a simple method and keeps them fresh for a long. After washing and draining, pickle them in brine in a glass jar. They turn out very tasty if stored in this manner.
Refrigeration is an effective method to increase the shelf life of the fruit. It is better to store them inside plastic bags to get the best results.
Prickly pear is commercially available in pressure canned forms. It is stored with the right amount of water in small cans which makes usage easy. It also helps to increase the shelf life of your nopales.
Can you freeze Nopal?
Like all other fruits and vegetables, nopales can be frozen to prolong their shelf life. When you are using fresh nopales, the pads’ flesh can be isolated and frozen. Once frozen, it can be readily used for cooking purposes. To freeze the nopales well, you first need to cook them. You need to follow the steps mentioned below to freeze them.
- Boil two to three liters of water in a pot.
- Put the pads into the boiling water.
- Cook them for a few minutes and turn off the flame.
- Transfer the boiled pads to an ice-water bath to let them cool down.
- Drain them well and transfer them to heavy-duty freezer bags
- Leave some space between the food and the bag to free some space.
- Add a label with the date and time for your ease.
- Place the bags in a suitable place in your freezer.
The frozen variety of nopales makes usage easy. It can be used to make jellies and candies. Frozen nopales can easily maintain freshness for about one year.
How long does Nopal last?
The shelf life of nopales depends upon the storage methods and conditions. As told before, nopales do not have a long shelf life, so they should be stored with care. No one would want them to go bad early, so they should be stored well to avoid this condition.
If stored properly, they can last for about seven to fourteen days in the refrigerator. Store them in your crisper drawer to achieve the best results. The nopales can last for even longer if frozen. Frozen nopales can maintain freshness for about one year, which is great news for the consumers.
How to tell if Nopal has gone bad?
Like all other fruits and vegetables, nopales tend to go bad if not adequately stored. They show signs of spoilage which makes them no longer good for use. You can check for their spoilage by using your senses. Some signs are mentioned below.
- If the nopales have gone bad, they lose their natural appearance.
- If you smell the rotten nopales, they smell really bad, and this is a sign that they have gone bad.
- Molds and insects may grow into them, allowing them to rot.
- If you notice any such signs, discard your nopales at the earliest. Consuming spoiled nopales can cause various health problems.
Nopal is a unique product of nature. It has important culinary uses and also cures various diseases. It can be stored by some simple methods. If they are stored well, either refrigerated or frozen, they can last long. In this way, you can enjoy their long-lasting benefits.