Why was Tenochtitlan called The Place of the Fruit of the Prickly Pear Cactus?
The Aztecs named their capital Tenochtitlan which means "the place of the fruit of the prickly pear cactus",because this food was like a lake and this lake was in the middle of the old Mexico's.
Some cacti can be eaten, such as the prickly pear. However, there are a number of species of cactus that have toxic or hallucinogenic properties that can make ingestion a less than pleasant experience. Both the tender young pads as well as the fruit of the prickly pear are eaten by many people in Mexico as well as in the southwestern United States. The pads are called nopales and the fruit tunas and both are…
"Cactus Fruit" probably refers to "tuna" or Prickly Pear fruit. It might also mean the bright red fruit of the Saguaro cactus. Both types are bright red and full of tiny seeds. The taste is similar to mild raspberries or kiwis. The fruit can be scooped from the skins, strained and cooked with sugar to make jams, preserves and syrups. See link below.
The prickly pear cactus [Opuntia spp] may bear fruit within one or two years of planting. The fruit tends to have a harvest time of late summer to early fall. It's important to harvest and eat the fruit promptly. The fruit tends to be most flavorful when it's picked immediately upon ripening. Its colors may range from green to purple or red. The best flavors are found with the green fruit. The darker colored fruits…
Tenochtitlan is a city-state located in Mexico and is the former capital of the Aztec Empire. There seems to be some uncertainty amongst etymologists as to the meaning of the word but it seems to approximate to "At the Place Near Rock-cactus-Fruit". For more details: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Tenochtitlan
Cactus are eaten in most places in the world where they grow. But now they are becoming available in grocery stores. Some cactus store water and can be life-saving when folks are lost in the desert and without water. Jams and jellies are sometimes made from the fruit/flowers of some cactus, notably the prickly pear.
Yes, many of the fruits can be eaten fresh. For example, the yellow fruit of the prickly pear [Opuntia spp] has the sweetest flavor of the cactus fruit's color range. It's eaten fresh. Additionally, other body parts also can be eaten. For example, the prickly pear cactus' jointed pads may be peeled and boiled, to make Mexico's popular nopalitos. The flesh of the candy barrel cactus [Ferocactus wislizeni] may be made up into sugary candies.
Medicine derived from the prickly pear cactus is used for an amazing variety of purposes. There is genuine scientific research which backs the use of the prickly pear cactus, also known as nopal, as a natural treatment for diabetes and high blood cholesterol, as well as lipid disorders. Current research is continuing to check the efficacy of prickly pear medicine on the management and treatment of type II diabetes and hyperlipidemias. The prickly pear is…
The Aztec Indians needed to find another place to live. They were told that they'd know where they were supposed to build their new city. They were to build where they saw an eagle eating the fruit of a cactus plant. They found what they were predicted to find, and that's where their city of Tenochtitlan [the future, modern day Mexico City] was built.
A cactus berry is one of the forms that cactus fruit may take. Different cactus plants make different types of fruit. For example, the fruit of the living rock or fossil cactus [Ariocarpus spp] looks like pale fleshy berries. In contrast, the saguaro cactus [Carnegiea gigantea] makes fruit that looks like red plums.
To me, prickly pear tasted closest in flavor to kiwi fruit. I have seen it described as bland, but I love kiwi, so I would not categorize prickly pear as bland either. Depending on your preparation of the fruit, you may want to add a little (very little) sugar or pair it with another fruit, such as plums, but I know I will definitely buy and eat more prickly pears!