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Recipe: Southern Pickled Nopalitos

All quantities approximate.

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • Water
  • 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

Instructions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

At A Glance