Because we are learning about life in Texas during the time of the Alamo and we have an upcoming desert unit study, we took time today to read about cactus. Exploring edible cactus was the next step because we have never tasted it and if anything involves food we are in.
First, we found a few sites and pictures to learn about cactus.
Look at this page that shows anatomy of a cactus from the Cactus Museum which is a good overview.
Then we focused on the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) because it is one of the prominent plants in the Sonoran Desert.
Here are some of the things we learned and some things we already knew:
►It’s the world’s largest cactus.
► Cacti don’t have leaves; they have prickly spines.
►It can live up to 200 years.
►One of the coolest things is that it is a habitat in itself. It provides food, water, and shelter to many different animals.
► The saguaro cactus saves and stores huge quantities of water in its roots and stems.
► In spring time, white flowers grow on the saguaro.
►The term tree is used to describe how high it can get, which can be up to 60 feet tall.
►They are found only in the Sonoran Desert.
Look at these two books where we got a lot of helpful information.
One book is for a younger child and the other is for multiple ages. Even the book for younger kids was still full of helpful facts.
Next, we picked up some cactus at the grocery store because Tiny has never tasted cactus.
Looking around the kitchen to see what we could cook with we used just a few ingredients.
First, we started by scraping the edges of the cactus with a sharp knife.
We also used a vegetable peeler to be sure we got all the spikes off and cut off the edge and dark spots. I rinsed it several times.
Then we sliced it into pieces.
We boiled it in some red onion, fresh garlic and salt and pepper for about 20 minutes or so until it didn’t look slimy any longer.
Instead of eating it by itself, we think anything tastes better with guacamole and we’re almost sure they had guacamole when the soldiers were in the Alamo (just kidding).
We grabbed some fresh avocado, salt and pepper and tomatoes to make an easy guacamole.
After we boiled it, it came time to the taste test.
Uhmm, Tiny’s face says it all.He didn’t really care for it. I never really have liked the flavor. It’s a texture thing for me, but we always don’t mind trying new things.
Tiny said it’s not as bad as he thought and adding spices to it really helps. It does taste like a mild green bean.
We put it in some great tasting guacamole with chips and had a few more bites.
We had a fun morning reading about cactus and trying a bite or two of it.
Then, I found this wonderful illustration, which has pictures of several different cactus. How many can you name?
Look at this link to see the names of them.
We are loving our hands-on learning on different topics. Look at these other ones we have done.Day 1: Make a Hair Hygrometer, Day 2: Desert Sand Art, Day 3: Make Zopf (Swiss Style Bread) and 365 Days Hands-On Homeschool Activities – One for EVERY Day of the Year
Hugs and love ya,
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