Is a Cactus a Vegetable?
The cactus, commonly known as the prickly pear, is a succulent type of plant that can be seen in many warm, dry climates. But is cactus a vegetable?
The debate has been around for as long as the cactus has been around. Generally, humans have considered the cactus to be a “fruit” because of its sweet edible flesh. But botanically, it is actually considered a vegetable.
What is a Vegetable?
A vegetable is defined as any edible part of a plant that we use in food. Botanically, fruits and vegetables are both parts of flowering plants. The only real difference between them is that vegetables are usually eaten as part of a savory dish, while fruits are usually eaten as a snack or dessert.
Why is a Cactus Considered a Vegetable?
The cactus’s edible parts are actually the pads or stems of the plant, which are known botanically as its “flesh”. Though these pads may have a sweet taste, they are still considered a vegetable because they are used in savory dishes and typically served cooked.
One of the most popular cactus dishes is nopales, which is cooked cactus pads served with eggs, onions, tomato, and cheese.
So in conclusion, even though a cactus may taste sweet, it is still considered a vegetable according to its botanical definition. It can be used in a variety of savory dishes, so next time you’re craving something unusual, give the cactus a try!
Benefits of Eating Cactus:
- High in Fiber
- Low in Calories
- Rich in Iron
- Source of Vitamins A and C