Making Nan's Pedro Syrup Without A Pressure Cooker

Nan's Nook : Archives : Botanicals : Cactus : San PedroNan's San Pedro Syrup
Posted by: Morgan Feb 17 03, 06:25 AM GMT
I'm just reading up on a few ways to eat Pedro & was extremely impressed with the simplicity of Nan's syrup:

San Pedro Syrup: Slice off the needles, then peel the skin off a couple of kilos of fresh cactus. Leave all of the green photosynthetic flesh. Slice as for cucumber salad, put in a pressure cooker, cover with _distilled_ water, bring to 15 lbs steam for 10 min. Decant the liquid, squeeze the pulp (I use a small grape press). Combine all liquid, strain, and set aside in a large container, return the pulp to the pressure cooker, cover with water... Repeat the process 3-4 times (three with a press, four times if you are squeezing by hand). Collect all the liquid and boil down to the consistancy of heavy cream. About 5 oz of concentrated syrup followed with a good chug of Ocean Spray Cran-Grape on an empty stomach... You are there...

Only challenge is that I don't have a pressure cooker & have no intention of buying a pressure cooker until I get bored enough to grow shrooms. As I understand it, the pressure cooker time is to ensure all the cell's break down & free all the mesc molecules up to enter the water. I have read of other ways to break up the cellular structure of the cactus such freezing & defrosting several times.

Would something like this work?
1. Freeze & defrost the cactus several (~3) times.
2. Liquify cactus in a blender.
3. Add water & boil for 10 min's in saucepan.
4. Filter through a shirt (as suggested in nan's syrup post) and wring all the liquid out.
5. Put remaining material back into pan add more water & repeat 4 times.
6. Discard plant matter, combine all water in saucepan & boil down to creamy consistancy & eat.

I don't want to take shortcuts I just really don't feel like buying a pressure cooker that I will never use again but I don't want to waste Mescaline either.

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted by: reshroomED Feb 17 03, 09:40 AM GMT
I've only recently used a pressure cooker to process my cactii, before that it was pretty much as you describe. I used to leave the freezing/thawing stage for the final product. Boiling the cactii down results in the infamous 'snot-soup' but, when this is frozen and thawed once or twice and left to stand for a while, renders out into a tea-like liquid above settled out plant fibre. Still tastes the same though.

Posted by: reshroomED Feb 17 03, 09:46 AM GMT
I'd also recommend cutting the cactus lengthways, cutting off most flesh with a knife, and then scraping the remains from the skin with a spoon. If you persist at this you'll be left with a translucent peice of skin (having got all the goodies but a little wax too). I just scrape off most of the green and the turf the rest. By far the easiest way that I've found.

Posted by: Nanook Feb 18 03, 03:15 PM GMT
Yes you can chop, freeze, boil with water in a pot and strain instead of using the pc smile.gif

Posted by: eleventy Jul 27 03, 10:24 PM GMT
I have done the syrup extraction before with a pressure cooker, to FANTASTIC results I might add, and I was wondering exactly how you would go about it without one? I know you have to boil it for like 4 hours, but do you need to boil it again or what? If anybody has a more vivid description of how to do it to the best results please respond.


Posted by: Nanook Jul 28 03, 12:12 AM GMT
Chop the raw material as finely as possible.... Cover with water, boil, strain... Repeat

It is not how long you cook, it's how many times you cook and strain. You must cook and strain (squeezing the strainings) until the pulp has little or no trace of bitterness left. Then all the goodies are extracted... Then simply boil down the strainings until it reaches the proper consistancy wink.gif

Posted by: ion Jul 28 03, 12:31 AM GMT
The only reason you use a pressure cooker in the first place is so that you can raise the boiling point of the water (make it hotter) which helps to break down the plant faster... also, the lid holds in the water.

Without a PC, you should simply boil it for longer, adding water as it gets low. And be darn careful not to apply direct heat to the bottom of the boiling pot... this will burn the syrup, destroying alkaloids.

Use a double-pot system. The pot of syrup inside another pot full of boiling water (not really hot enough) or oil (use something non-smoking like mineral oil), with a spacer (wire rack or whatever) between the pots. Make sure the level of the oil is at or above the level of the syrup. Ya gotta be darn careful with this, too, as you don't want your goodies to splash out into the lower pot... use a lid on the inner pot.

This way will take about 12 hours (if using water in the lower pot), or 4 hours (if using mineral oil).

Monitor your temp if using the oil... don't let it get too hot or your syrup will boil over.

And for goodness' sake, be careful! This is going to be extremely hot!


Posted by: CactusMind Jul 28 03, 12:28 PM GMT
Having recently failed an extraction and wasting 2 beautiful cacti (well not entirely wasted , as I learned some stuff) , I went ahead and made syrup without a PC.

Heres what I did:
-Removed spines
-Sliced cactus into 7 strips, going from top to bottom(make incission between ribs)
-Peeled skin off as best as I could
-Then chopped up cacti into small chunks
-Threw chunks into a blender , with a little H20 to get things going
-blended for at least a minute (puree near the end)
-Took this snot , threw into a big steel pot
-Brought to a boil (heat 4/10 on stove)
-Boiled for 90 minutes
-Strained through cheesecloth , and then nylon pantyhouse
-return pulp to pot , added more water
-repeat boiling and straining 2 more times
-combine filtered liquids
-boiled liquid down to syrup
-took 4 and a half shot glasses
-met God smile.gif

In all actuality , those 4.5 shots , were all drank in a span of 5 mintues
NEVER in my life have I felt SO sick !
Bad feelings were replaced by really good ones in about 2 hours

Hope that helps !

Posted by: Nanook Jul 28 03, 02:45 PM GMT
Thin cactus juice flash boils fine in a thin bottom pot under high heat... The problem comes when it gets thicker, and you can scorch syrup by heating too fast as ion indicates (especially in a cheap pot). I have over the years accumulated some professional quality triple bottom stainless steel stock pots. These are ideal for cultivators and chefs... They are expensive (like a pressure cooker) but they hold their value and last a lifetime if cared for.

The good ones have a layer of stainless steel with a copper plate, then an aluminum plate, bonded to the bottom of the cook pot to distribute heat and prevent scorching. I got mine after losing large batches of good stew and soup that were scorched in cheap pots... My new pots are the bomb for cooking down cactus. You are going to need a good boiling pot if you intend to develop a 10-20 pot cactus garden... so keep your eyes open for deals and second hands on these essential kitchen utensils wink.gif

Cactus takes a good long while to grow to harvestable size. Take your time and be careful in handling the processing. Make sure you get all the goodies out of the plant material... People have complained to me they did not get off... They boiled thick slices of cactus for 20 mins, drained, boiled and drank...A tea. And threw out half the dose in the unpulped wet slices. You should wrap pulp in a cloth and twist it up into a ball, like cheese, squeezing out at much water as possible... After the last boil and squeeze the pulp should be a sticky, damp, cohesive lump: with no bitter taste.


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