Cactus tortillas offer a novel take on traditional food

2012-02-20T00:00:00Z 2012-02-20T13:12:20Z Cactus tortillas offer a novel take on traditional foodMarisa Bernal For The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 20, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Tortilla lovers know there are the corn and flour varieties. For the adventuresome there are whole wheat and blue corn.

Now welcome green tortillas made from nopales, prepared pads of prickly-pear cactus.

"It tastes just like a homemade-style tortilla," said Karina Felix, president of Global Distribution Solutions. "The only real difference is, they are made out of cactus."

Global Distribution Solutions, a wholesale distributor of health products, has introduced Señor Cactus tortillas from Zacatecas, Mexico to the Tucson market.

"What grabbed our attention with this product is it's very innovative and different. We saw the nutritional content on it and we were very impressed, said Felix, a Nogales native who started her company two years ago out of her home after getting a business master's degree from the University of Phoenix.

Señor Cactus tortillas are 55 percent fresh cactus and 45 percent whole grain corn with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives added, she said. With a mere 19 calories, the cacti tortilla bests the traditional corn tortilla by approximately 50 calories. Another cactus tortilla, the "Nopaltilla," is sold in California, but Señor Cactus is 30 calories less.

"At first I didn't want to do a tortilla because of the short shelf life they have," Felix said. "But thanks to the unique vacuum-sealed packaging, the tortillas have an 180-day shelf-life that keeps them nice, fresh and delicious."

The tortilla's slightly green exterior and vaguely sweet flavor make it stand out among regular corn and flour tortillas.

"They have an interesting taste. I can definitely taste the cactus, which gives them a strange taste," said Olga Sandoval, an employee of Mi Casita Tortilla Factory, 4439 S. Sixth Ave. "Yeah, it's a good idea to make healthier tortillas, but why cactus?"

Cactus, according to Felix, is a natural product that is high in fiber, contains calcium and iron, regulates glucose levels and can improve circulation.

"It's actually better than any regular tortilla I have ever tasted," said Steve Nelson, a retired chiropractor and a new fan. "I am always looking for alternatives for healthy food items, and this was just perfect."

WHERE TO GET THEM

Señor Cactus Tortillas are available locally at the following locations: New Life Health Centers, Rincon Market, Aqua Vita Natural Food Market, Tucson Tamale Co., Carniceria El Herradero, La Cima Market, and the Walgreens at 605 W. Ajo Way.

DID YOU KNOW?

Tortillas date back to approximately 10,000 years before Christ, according to the Tortilla Industry Association in Arlington, Va.

Marisa Bernal is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at starapprentice@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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