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HomeSurvival TipsSo, Can You Eat a Cactus for Survival?

So, Can You Eat a Cactus for Survival?

Cacti thrive in scorching and dry areas however might be discovered all around the world in areas that don’t attain under freezing. Whereas admiring the vicious-looking look, you may be shocked to study that it gives a lot when it comes to survival.

cactus plants
cactus vegetation

Sure, you’ll be able to eat most cacti, although some varieties are poisonous for people. Usually, consuming the fruit and pads uncooked or cooked received’t trigger you hurt.

Cacti fruit can present hydration, vitamins, and minerals in a survival state of affairs.

All fruits of a real cactus are edible and generally you’ll be able to eat all the plant with out unwanted effects. Studying learn how to determine and put together cacti is a vital ability that may save your life.

Let’s take a deeper take a look at how one can make the most of this distinctive plant in a survival state of affairs.

Are All Cacti Edible?

The vast majority of cacti species will not be edible, however the edible species are simply discovered and extremely wanted on account of their wonderful well being advantages.

Edible Elements

All edible cacti species bear fruit that grows on the tip of an arm, or on the highest of the plant.

The fruit on all true cacti is edible, and might be loved both uncooked or cooked after some preparation.

The pads on some edible cacti, just like the prickly pear, and leaves just like the cholla are edible and will also be loved uncooked or cooked after minor preparation.

What Elements Are Poisonous?

With any edible plant, there’s all the time a danger when consuming giant portions because of the minute traces of poisons.

An edible cactus plant doesn’t have poisonous elements that ought to be prevented, it does nonetheless have elements that style extraordinarily disagreeable.

Most cacti species comprise oxalic acid which is poisonous to us people. When ingested, oxalic acid reacts with the calcium in our our bodies and produces calcium oxalates.

Consuming edible cacti will not often make you sick until you’ve gotten eaten an excessive amount of.

What Widespread Cactus Crops Are Edible?

Dragon fruit and prickly pears are frequent sufficient to be present in your grocery store, however additionally, you will discover them rising wild in hotter areas of the world.

There are extra edible cactus species on the market within the wild that may enable you survive.

Dragon Fruit

Wild pink dragon fruit appears like those present in your grocery store and might be eaten from harvest, yellow dragon fruit has spikes that have to be eliminated earlier than consuming. You can see these fruits hanging from the information of the leaves on the very tall plant.

Reduce the fruit in half to eat the white heart with black seeds, you’ll discover it has a light, sweet-to-sour style.

This plant will assist increase your immune system and while you’re dehydrated and low on vitality this fruit is there to avoid wasting you.

Barrel Cactus

Watch out harvesting this plant! A barrel cactus is a spiked ball, as tall as three meters in some areas. If you happen to come throughout one you’ll be able to look down on, yow will discover it topped with fruit.

The fruit appears like miniature pineapples with a dried flower on prime.

Avoiding all spike clusters, fastidiously seize the yellow fruit and twist it off, reduce it open and eat the tangy lemon-tasting insides.

The fruit of a barrel cactus will give you nutritional vitamins A and C.

Prickly Pear Cactus

The very best half in regards to the prickly pear cactus is you’ll be able to eat each the fruit and the pads. You can see a number of yellow to pink fruits (aka tunas) across the edges of the pads.

Rigorously break off a pad loaded with fruit, reduce open fruit, and eat the pink seeds inside. You can too eat slices of the pad.

Earlier than consuming, scrape off the pores and skin of each the fruit and the pad to take away little hairs and spikes. Consuming too lots of the cacti pads could trigger an upset abdomen.

Saguaro Cactus

This can be a cactus protected by legislation in Arizona however when you’re in a survival state of affairs, your life comes first.

The inexperienced to pink egg-shaped fruit is discovered on the tip of the 20 ft tall arms with a dried flower protruding of the highest.

It’s troublesome to succeed in but when yow will discover a lifeless saguaro cactus round you they make an amazing harvesting software.

Reduce open the fruit and eat the seeded tangy insides to get the advantages this fruit gives. It’ll additionally give you hydration instantly after you eat it.

Cholla Cactus

The Cholla cactus is nearly not price harvesting because of the danger of harm, but when it’s crucial, the fruit is edible. Defend your self from the spikes earlier than getting in.

The small yellow to pink fruit is roofed in spikes. The fruit is positioned on the tip of a protracted arm, which can also be lined in spikes that may keep on with you when touched.

Utilizing tongs, grasp the fruit and twist it to interrupt it off. Scrape off the spines or burn them off over a hearth earlier than consuming.

Chia Sage

The Chia sage is a completely edible plant and appears nothing like your typical cacti.

It will possibly develop in bushes or as a single plant as much as two ft sprouting a tall stalk topped by a spiked ball with miniature purple flowers, whereas the leaves from the bottom appear like dandelion leaves.

The seeds from this plant, often known as Chia Pet Seeds, are extremely nutritious and will provide you with a pleasant burst of vitality after consuming.


Agave appears like an aloe plant with a tall tree within the heart. The colour of the plant ranges from blue to vibrant and darkish inexperienced and the fruit is discovered on the very prime of the tall tree.

The complete agave plant is edible. As a result of dry qualities of agave, the plant is normally boiled earlier than being eaten, nonetheless, you’ll be able to eat the buds whereas they’re nonetheless delicate.

In case your precedence is calorie consumption that is the cactus to hunt. There are extra energy in a cup of agave than there are in a big pepperoni pizza.

Harvest and Eat Cactus in a Survival Scenario

There are just a few methods for harvesting and consuming cacti however while you’re in a survival state of affairs only some of these methods are helpful.

You’ll wish to harvest rapidly, however it should be accomplished safely because the spines might be painful on most varieties.


When harvesting cacti you’ll want safety from their hairs and spikes, this may embrace arm and hand protection, physique protection, long-reaching instruments, or tongs to get the fruit.

To reap the fruit you’ll have to twist the fruit for it to fall off, having it fall to the bottom is best than catching it when the fruit carries spikes.

To reap cactus pads, you’ll want to know the pad and pull it towards the route of progress to interrupt it off or use a knife to chop it off.

Cooked Vs. Uncooked

Each a part of a cactus that’s edible might be eaten uncooked or cooked. In a survival state of affairs consuming the cactus uncooked is your best choice which merely requires chopping it open and consuming the insides.

Consuming cactus uncooked requires much less prep time and also you’re getting all of the vitamins.

Another choice is roasting the seeds, pads, or fruit over a hearth for a heat dish. Your different choice is to boil it in water or soup.

These are nice choices to keep away from any potential toxicity or to heat your self up.

Advantages of Consuming Cactus

Cacti are used medicinally not solely internally, however externally. The fruit of cacti is present in well being meals markets and is a delicacy in high-nutrient diets.

Don’t look previous this plant while you want vitality, protein, carbs, and hydration.

Common Energy

The typical energy per cup of cacti are roughly 200. This measurement ranges from 40 energy to a staggering 680+ energy, with prickly pears being one of many lowest and agave being the best.

Contemplating the typical grownup wants 2,000-2,500 energy a day, one cup of cacti energy will final lengthy sufficient to maintain you going for one hour.

Minerals and Vitamins

All elements of a cactus plant are loaded with nutritional vitamins, minerals, and vitamins. Some vitamins are distinctive to sure cacti species whereas most are frequent all through all species.

Let’s break it down so what you’re feeding your physique:

Prickly Pear Cactus Vitamin C
Vitamin B6
Dragon Fruit Antioxidants
Vitamin C
Saguaro Cactus Vitamin B12
Vitamin C
Cholla Cactus Omega-3 fatty acids

Edible Cacti FAQ

Many questions are introduced up in relation to consuming cacti. Right here’s a fast one-stop for the incessantly requested questions on consuming cacti.

Is consuming uncooked cactus good for you?

Consuming uncooked cactus is nice for you. Make certain you’re consuming the suitable species to keep away from toxicity and an upset abdomen.

Can I drink water from a cactus?

Sure, you’ll be able to drink cactus water. Don’t drink in giant portions as it could trigger an upset abdomen.

What cacti will not be edible?

The San Pedro, Bolivian, and Peyote species are all non-edible varieties because of the alkaloids discovered inside.

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