ORLANDO, FLA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–October 6, 2003–One of the hits of the Florida Restaurant Show this weekend will be a relatively unknown product to United States’ shelves—but not to new Americans from Mexico.
Mexican cooks have known for generations the value of adding Nopalitos to their specialty dishes. Few outside the Mexican cooking community know that Nopalitos are from the sweet stems of the prickly pear cactus, and finding quality has been difficult. But that should change soon.
Plantation Specialty Foods will use the 2003 Restaurant Show to premier its newest product: fresh frozen nopalitos.
“We know that one of our fastest growing populations is Hispanic, and we wanted to bring to that market products with the same value and taste that they remember from home,” said Robert Edenfield, vice president of Plantation Specialty Foods in Felda, Fla. The first product chosen is the cactus in part because it is one of the top five selling vegetables in Mexico.
Nopal—Spanish for Cactus–was grown in Mexico before the Spanish arrived and has been an important ingredient in Hispanic dishes for hundreds of years. Nopalitos is the name given the harvested stems once they harvested and cut up in strips or cubes. Until now, the cooks have had only two options: they could go to their yards and cut their own pads, or they could use canned nopalitos, canned in brine or vinegar just as cucumbers are pickled.
Plantation Specialty Foods has expanded those choices by finding a way to freeze the vegetable at the height of its flavor, and bring that fresh flavor to the kitchen. Now cooks can find the taste, texture and value of fresh nopalitos without the added salt and loss of texture from the canning process or the difficulty of finding the fresh cactus.
“We had to work for several years to find the right combinations to freeze nopals so that they did meet the exacting standards of Hispanic cooks,” Edenfield said. “Mexican women in our focus groups told us that they preferred our product by a two to one margin over any of the canned nopalitos on the market—and as much as fresh.”
Nopalitos will be demonstrated at the Florida Department of Agriculture booth number 2843 at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20. Victor Burroso of L&J General International Corporation will demonstrate the product, provide samples and answer questions. L&J General will distribute the product in Florida under the label “El Sembrador.”
For further information, contact Edenfield at 863-675-1234.