We're excited to introduce our out-of-the-box Perma Green Pepper - Nopales! When we were on the lookout for a tough-as-nails perennial to stand in for green peppers, we gave several hardy pepper varieties a go, but none were quite right. They either didn't thrive as we hoped or just didn't hit the spot on flavor—until we broadened our horizons. Maybe we could get all that green pepper taste without all the fuss - enter Spineless Nopales! It's not your typical garden veggie, but boy does it pack the perfect green pepper punch in the flavor department, and it grows like a dream. (Opuntia ficus-indica 'Burbank Spineless')
Why We Love It
Here are some of the reasons why we love Nopales...
1) TOUGH AS NAILS - Nopales are incredibly resilient, able to withstand the challenges of extreme weather, which makes them low-maintenance heroes in the sustainable landscape.
2) DELICIOUS VEGGIE & FRUIT IN ONE! - They are a remarkable two-in-one plant, offering both nutritious, vegetable-like pads and sweet, fruit-like tunas, providing multiple harvests from a single plant-it-and-forget-it plant.
3) DESERT-TOLERANT - Their low water needs align with permaculture principles, conserving water while still yielding an amazing harvest, ideal for arid or drought-prone regions.
How to Grow It
Here's how to grow Nopales:
|MOISTURE||DEEP, INFREQUENT WATERING IN WELL-DRAINED SOIL
|GROWING ZONES||PERENNIAL OUTDOORS ZONES 8-10 (Not sure? Find your growing zone here)|
|SIZE||CAN GROW UP TO 10 FEET TALL, BUT YOU CAN EASILY PRUNE TO ANY HEIGHT.|
|HOW TO ROOT FROM CUTTINGS||
This can be done incredibly easily from pad cuttings. Cut off a pad. Let it cure for a few days to allow the cut end to harden. Plant and then don’t water it until you see signs of new growth.
How to Harvest & Use It
Harvest the young nopales pads when they’re about the size of your hand. The young pads are the most delicious. Older pads can be tough and stringy, but are great for medicine and poultices. Although this variety is spineless, they will have small, sharp glochids around the perimeter and a few on the face of the paddles. You can scrape them off easily with a butter knife. We like to pan fry, grill, or boil the nopales pads. They turn an olive green color when cooked and are so delicious. The tuna fruits will turn an orange/coral color on the bottom when ripe and are sweet and delicious, tasting a bit like watermelon.