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Aug 6, 2006 07:42 PM

Nopales (Cactus paddles) in Northern New Jersey?

Hi, I'm looking for Nopales (the flat paddle from the prickly pear cactus) in Northern New Jersey. Are there any good Mexican markets or specialty stores that are recommended?
I'm in Hoboken so NYC options are appreciated also.

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  1. Try Supremo Supermarket on Palisade Ave and Ravine, in the Jersey City Heights. There are also a couple of Mexican Markets on Central Avenue, in the Heights neighborhood. Cinco de Mayo (at 401 Central) has good food, as well as, a small grocery selection.

    1. If you're into foraging...
      There are prickley pears growing wild out on Sandy Hook. I don't think the National Park Service allows people to harvest the paddles, but people are allowed to harvest the cactus fruits (tunas). The stipulation is that you harvest a small amount for your own use; not to sell. Same deal with beach plums.
      For questions - contact the Sandy Hook visitor center:

      1 Reply
      1. re: val ann c

        If you do decide to harvest some paddles... make sure that you only harvest the tender, new paddles... they will much smaller & more pale than the rest.

        Old paddles are excessively sinewy & thorns are much more of an issue.

      2. Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market, 9th Ave @ 18th St

        1. You live in NJ? They can be found at any Central-American market, they are all the same!!! I imagine in this area, when found in the wild, the paddles are small. I am 30 miles north-west of Hoboken and we have an abundance of them (Opuntia vulgarus), but even as a chef, I find no interest in them! Green bell peppers are a good sustitute..