All quantities approximate.
- 4 Lbs. de-spined fresh nopales, sliced into 1/2-inch wide strips (nopalitos)
- 2 Tbsp. dill seed or 5 to 6 large sprigs of fresh dill, crushed slightly
- 8 to 10 garlic cloves, halved
- A few hot red peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise (you can also use red pepper flakes)
- 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- 5 to 6 thoroughly rinsed small grape leaves, or 15 to 20 mesquite leaves
- 5 or 6 quart canning jars, or 10 to 12 pint jars
- Rinse the sliced nopalitos in cold water, removing some of the oozy slime. Begin packing them into sanitized pint or quart jars, cutting them to size as you go.
- For each quart jar, add 1 small grape leaf or a few mesquite leaves, 1 tsp. dill seed or 1 largish sprig of dill, 3 garlic clove halves, and 1 slice of fresh red pepper or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Halve the measurements for pints.
- In a clean gallon jar or jug with a lid combine the salt, vinegar, and water, adding the vinegar and salt first, then filling the rest up with water. Shake until the salt has dissolved.
- Fill the packed and seasoned jars with the salt/vinegar/water brine up to 1 inch below the rim of the jars. Wipe the rims with a clean, dry cloth.
- Screw on airlock lids or band and rings, and place the jars somewhere away from drafts and direct sunlight. Allow to ferment for 2 or more weeks, burping and checking on the jars regularly. Once they are ready, chill the pickled nopalitos before serving.
These keep well in a cellar for up to 1 year, after which they will begin to get mushy.