Cacti and succulents are easy to grow and maintain, and they look great both indoors and out. But did you know that there are succulents that can be eaten? Discover our selection of edible cacti and succulents that you can easily grow at home to take advantage of their properties and flavors.
Many plants in the aloe genus have topical uses. However, some varieties, such as Aloe vera, can also be considered edible succulents.
When growing her, provide her with a warm, dry environment with maximum drainage and air circulation. To look at: How to grow aloe vera.
To eat it, remove the outer shell to get its gel. You can eat it straight from the leaf (although it is very bitter) or prepare salads and juices.
- Balances gastric pH
- Promotes normal intestinal transit
- Take care of liver function
- hydrates the body
For more health benefits of aloe vera, check out our article here!
The ever-forgiving Sedum thrives best on neglect. It grows vigorously and its vibrant water-storing leaves take little time to last, making this plant a rewarding choice for busy plant growers.
The amount of sunshine depends on the variety. Do not pay or water frequently; less is more
The leaves and young stems have a slightly peppery flavor, some varieties are slightly bitter, which can be reduced after sautéing. Eat them raw in salads, stir-fries or soups.
Attention: Eating sedum in large amounts can upset your stomach, so consume it in moderation.
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- reduce cough
- Kills digestive germs
- It has powerful laxative properties
The saguaro is a tree-like cactus; its beautiful white nocturnal flowers are the state flower of Arizona in the United States.
Not just for the flowers or for the stately and imposing appearance of the adult saguaro, it makes our list of succulents that can be eaten for its rare, spiky red fruits that are edible and sweet.
The fruit of the saguaro is very sweet and its seeds, rich in protein and fat, have a flavor similar to that of nuts.
The fruits can be eaten raw and cooked, made into syrup and jam, and the dried pulp into patties. The seeds are eaten raw or dried and ground into flour. The juice is processed into alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- High in fiber, which makes it good for aiding digestion
- Rich in B12, and helps the growth of probiotic gut bacteria
4. Dragon fruit or Pitahaya (Hylocereus spp.)
Dragon fruit is an edible succulent plant. Its flowers, which bloom at night, are just for show and give off a fruity scent. The pulpy fruit is bursting with flavor and is a delicious treat for tropical fruit lovers and weight watchers. See: Learn all about growing dragon fruit here.
Cut the fruit in half lengthwise and remove the white, fleshy part. Eat it raw or add it to smoothies or salads for a more pleasant flavor. To look at: How to sow and grow Pitahaya organically
- Rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, anthocyanins and carotenoids which help fight free radicals and reduce the severity of chronic conditions.
- It helps in weight control and may protect against cancer due to its fiber content.
- Promotes the growth of gut bacteria and gut health.
- Supports low iron levels.
Like the saguaro cactus, the barrel cactus can also live for over 100 years. However, the fruit tastes sour and can be eaten raw or cooked.
The barrel cactus needs little watering and requires a sunny location to grow. It can also be grown as a houseplant near a well-lit window.
Surprisingly, many parts of the barrel cactus are edible, raw or cooked, from seeds to fruit. The latter is bitter, but the seeds taste good when roasted. Better yet, grind them up and add them to your smoothie.
- Enriched with vitamin A, C, E and antioxidants, it relieves inflammation and chronic diseases.
- Promotes tolerance to the complications of diabetes.
- Enables cognitive awareness and faster recovery from hangovers
This low-growing succulent has an invasive spreading habit, which makes it difficult to grow indoors; however, its rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids makes it worth it.
Purslane can be easily grown from seed or root cuttings. It requires little maintenance and very little watering, grow it in a sunny location and in soil that drains water well.
Stems and leaves are edible and can be eaten raw. Its slightly tart flavor and chewy texture is a good addition to salads. Cook it with spinach for a high-protein meal or add the seeds to cakes.
- It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and C.
- Purslane is excellent for improving skin and nail health.
Helps control weight and increases basal metabolism. Helps detoxify organs and strengthens the immune system. To look at: Properties of Purslane, a plant with multiple benefits
This succulent, also called Marine Asparagus, is a swamp lover, it is a regular on sandy beaches. It has an interesting flavor that is difficult to adapt. Yet it is slowly and steadily making its way into grocery stores around the world.
Sow the seeds in a sunny location with sandy, well-drained soil; irrigate with a solution containing one teaspoon of sea salt in one liter of water.
The seeds and young stems can be eaten raw or sautéed. Its flavor is similar to that of asparagus, although slightly spicier. Blanch the leaves to remove the taste of sea salt.
- Glasswort’s protein content is nearly equivalent to that of spinach, making it an excellent vegetarian protein supplement.
- It is rich in iron and vitamin C, which increase iron absorption and metabolism at rest.
- The presence of a high iodine content helps protect against thyroid disorders.
The nopal is a cactus known for its juicy edible fruits. It displays whimsical pads interspersed with bright, showy blooms.
Peel and enjoy the fleshy fruits inside. Roast the pulp or eat it raw, or you can make jellies, candies and other sweets from the fruit. Nopal has been a staple in Mexico and Central America for thousands of years.
The prickly pear adapts well to outdoor spaces and is quite easy to grow. They prefer well-drained soils and only survive on rainwater once established. Be sure to wear gloves when planting and choose a spot that has enough room for the adult size of the species you intend to grow.
- Contains vitamin C and beta-carotene which prevent inflammation and improve vision
- Contains micronutrients that improve digestive function
- Protects against blood disorders and heart disease
Lady’s Fingers succulent has fleshy gray-green cylindrical stems that grow in tight clusters. It is native to the western United States and grows in desert coastal areas. It is edible, but only appetizing when cooked.
It has a slightly sweet flavor that some find refreshing, but it also leaves a somewhat chalky aftertaste.
It thrives on neglect, as long as it is planted in the right place. It needs full sun and prefers dry, sandy soil. Excess moisture will cause the plant to rot, so avoid overwatering.
Banana cassava gets its name from its elongated, edible fruit. The fruit is borne on the central flower stalk which emerges from a whorl of blue-green leaves.
The ripe fruit is fleshy and sweet; it can be eaten raw or roasted or dried for use out of season. There are hundreds of species of yucca, but only a few are traditionally considered edible, Yucca baccata being one of them. Y. elata and Y. madrensis are also edible species, but neither is related to cassava root, also called yucca in some regions.
The white flowers are also edible, but have a soapy flavor that becomes milder as they mature. The thick flower stalk can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable before it ripens.
This drought-tolerant plant prefers arid conditions, but will grow in moist soil if it has good drainage.
It is one of the most water-rich edible succulents, like other plants with fleshy edible leaves. The properties have led to its traditional use to prevent dehydration in arid regions.
It was exploited in medicine in ancient times. It is eaten and used as food for elephants and in South African cuisine.
Its leaves have a high content of oxalates which crystallize, hindering its assimilation by the kidneys (like spinach or yucca); It contains vitamins and minerals good for health.
It may also be interesting to read: 7 common mistakes when growing succulents that you should avoid.
The only danger these plants face is overwatering. It can be propagated in summer by cuttings planted in the sand.
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