Edible gardening guide

How to grow delicious vegetables, herbs, and fruit at home

8 global crops for your edible garden

Goodbye, peas and carrots—try growing these unusual, and lesser-known, vegetables

Nopal

Nopal

Opuntia ficus-indica

Origin: Mexico and the Southwest

Definition: The nopal (no-pahl) is good to eat, tasting like green beans and bell peppers with the texture of okra. Leaves (paddles) that are about 8 inches long are best.

Synonyms: The fruit is called prickly pear or tuna.

Use: Peel off paddles’ thorns with a vegetable peeler (easy), then slice and sauté with onions, melt in some jack cheese, and eat with tortillas.

Grow it: Nopal grows best in the mild, dry parts of the West. Slice off a paddle from an existing plant, wait a few weeks for a callus to form, and stick it an inch into the ground. For harvesting, gloves are necessary. No nopales around? Check with your nursery.

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