prickly pear cladodes
composition during development
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract The composition and quality of edible tender stems or cladodes of 3 Prickly Pear Cactus species (Opuntia amyclaea, O. ficus-indica, and O. inermis) were studied at different stages of development. This traditional Mexican vegetable is called “nopalitos” in Spanish and “cactus leaves” in English. Cladodes harvested when 20 cm in length have the following average composition per 100 g: 91.7 g of water, 1.1 g of protein, 0.2 g of lipid, 1.3 g of ash, 1.1 g of crude fiber, 4.6 g of complex carbohydrates and 0.82 g of simple sugars, 12.7 mg of ascorbic acid and 28.9 µg of carotenes. The cladode's juice has an average pH of 4.6, 0.45% titratable acidity and 6.9% soluble solids. The components which varied most during development of the cladodes were: carotenes, acidity and total carbohydrates which increased, and protein and crude fiber (acid-detergent) which decreased. The nutritive value of the tender cladodes in the stages of growth at which they are commonly harvested and consumed (15 to 25 cm long weighing 50 to 80 g per stem), was similar for the 3 species.
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