A pineapple, for example, is considered a succulent. How’s that for food for thought?
Comment below if you knew that fact already! Not only are edible succulents interesting to look at but they come with an amazing array of health benefits for your body.
Here is a list of delicious s 4 edible succulents that you can find at your local farmers’ market, or even order online!
Opuntia Ficus-Indica—Prickly Pear
This Native American succulent also produces an edible fruit called Tunas that can be found in local Mexican markets.
Having been a staple food for hundreds of years, Nopales are star attractions when they are included raw in salads or salsa’s, cooked with black pepper in casseroles, or grilled with garlic butter for tacos. It has a mild, neutral flavor and the taste is similar to that of green beans or asparagus. Like Okra, they also produce a sticky substance when cooked, which should be rinsed off before eating.
Tunas, the edible fruit, grows on the tips of the leaves and it is ripe when the fruit is deep red in color and soft to touch. Tunas can be peeled, sliced and juiced or mixed in a fruit salad. The Prickly Pear has been a delicacy for ages, not only for its versatility but also for its health benefits. The leaves are packed with fiber while the fruit is high in calcium and low in calories.
Indigenous to the Americas, the Hylocereus is an exceptional delicacy growing from a cactus that is now cultivated throughout tropical and sub-tropical regions including Southeast Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.
The cactus is colloquially known as Queen of the Night because the flowers only bloom at night and give off a fruity fragrance. Growing on vine-like stems, this succulent produces bright pink fruits with a leathery cover and scaly spikes. The Dragon fruit has a white edible pulp with tiny black seeds and has a mild flavor that can be compared to a bland, slightly sweet, kiwi or melon. The pulp can be scooped up and eaten raw, blended to enhance juices and cocktails like the ‘Dragotini’.
The Dragon Fruit is rich in antioxidants that help prevent inflammatory conditions like gout and other forms of arthritis. It also boosts low iron levels, is low in calories, and aids in weight management.
Sedum, also known as Stonecrop. This ever-forgiving succulent has water storing, edible leaves and grows rampantly on walls, as ground cover and in-between rocks. Sedum has its origins in the Northern Hemisphere but has also appeared in Africa and South America. There are about 600 species, most of which are safe to eat.
The leaves of the Stonecrop have a mild, slightly bitter, peppery taste and crispy texture, making them popular in soups, tossed in a salad or with your favorite stir-fry. The leaves can be eaten raw, steamed, or fried. Cooking the leaves helps reduce the tartness in the taste. Just like too much of something is poisonous, Sedum should be consumed in moderation as heavy consumption has been reported to cause stomach upsets.
The health benefits of munching a Sedum salad include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It has been identified to reduce coughing and it is recommended as a laxative.
Salicornia, or sea beans, are a succulent that grows on salt marshes and sandy beaches. They are gaining popularity amongst gourmet chefs and popping up in more grocery stores across the country.
These “beans” can be eaten raw or pan-fried and have a flavor and texture similar to asparagus. A quick blanch can mellow out the intense sea salt flavor. Health Benefits: High in protein, calcium, iron, and iodine.
Salads and sautés are probably not the first things that come to mind when you see the succulent adorning your windowsill. But now you know that a lot of common succulents can also be healthy and delicious additions to your dinner plate.