San Pedro Mania
part II -- Dissection
If you eat San Pedro cactus, you are breaking
the law and can be put in maximum security prison for a
long long time with no hope of parole. How would you like
to have to answer your cell mate with "I'm in here because
they caught me with a cactus in my mouth."
usual, trying to do absolutely anything I describe is a
bad idea. I take no responsibility."
One might wonder what all the fuss is about San Pedro cacti.
They look neat, grow big, and don't require all that much
attention. Many Pedro owners have often wondered about eating
their pets. Where would they start? What is involved? Is it
worth mutilating my cactus?
I have answers. You can start by getting out your essential
plant dissection tools. What? You don't have any?
OK, you can start by going out and getting some essential
plant dissection tools. If you skip this step, you suck. First
you need something to cut fine sections of cactus skin with.
A box cutter is good, even just razors are pretty good. You
can also use a scalpel if you have one, but these run about
$5-$10. Scalpels are good to have around. I use mine to shave,
slice my finger/toenails, and get wood slivers out from under
my skin (use extreme caution). You'll also want some forceps
(tweezers will just cut through shit) and a pin (optional).
Of course, you can skip all that and use a big knife and
your hands to do everything, but it isn't as much fun.
All right, cut a huge ass piece off of your cactus, keep your
cactus stump (the one still in dirt) in very little light
for a few days so the top doesn't lose moisture. Lay your
cactus out on a flat surface that is mostly clean. This surface
will soon become a slimy, stinky, ugly mess. First thing you'll
want to do is remove all the spines. There are two ways to
accomplish this. Either cut gashes around each spine cluster
and remove them entirely (preferred) or go through and pluck
off each spine individually, removing the leaf scars with
a razor (time consuming). Notice the cactus is ribbed. You
have around four to seven ribs on your cactus. Bisect the outer layer
of each rib. Now do the same thing between the ribs. If your
cactus had six ribs, you should have made 11 longitudinal cuts.
You only want to cut the waterproof lining. However, if you
make these cuts too shallow, you will have accomplished nothing.
So now the cactus has no spines and the skin is split all
the way down. Here comes the tricky part. Work a pin under
the skin at the bottom. Now grasp this lifted section with
forceps and remove the skin entirely. You should have removed
a long piece which is mostly clear. If it has green pieces
of cactus hanging off, you messed up, but don't sweat it.
Do this a bunch of times until you have removed all of the
skin and your cactus is bare naked.
Notice that the cactus has two radial sections, the white
section and the green section. The white section is the San
Pedro's xylem. This functions to translocate water, not make
food (duh). As you might guess, a columnar cactus doesn't
need all that complicated of a water system so the pipework
is mostly fiber. Dense, disgusting fiber. Take my word for
it, don't mix the white part in with the green part. The green
section occupies the outermost centimeter. There is this green
stuff called chlorophyll which allows the cactus to do magic
things with gas, water, and light us heterotrophs can't do.
Closer to the surface, greener it is, higher alkaloid content,
nastier taste. The alkaloids are there as a defense against
insects. As a side note, the older a cactus is the more likely
there is a good concentration of mescaline in the core because
the center is also storage for waste products which can include
excess mescaline. This is because plants don't take shits
and whatever chemicals they can't deal with through water
ends up in their personal landfill.
If you slice off the green part and only eat this you will
be 1) having to consume far less 2) being good and wasteful
3) not eating any damned cactus fiber 4) tripping your ass
off. If you do this, I guarantee you will not vomit later.
Take all this green mass and either eat it straight (ewwww),
blend it with lemon juice to neutralize it and then drink
it (ewwww), or cook it with some other stuff (yeah right,
go ahead and increase the total nasty mass).
My favorite method is the lemon-orange-cactus smoothie.
Complete with yogurt. It really doesn't taste any better.
You may have heard people talk about boiling it down so that
all you have left is a little shot of concentrated cactus
goo. That's nasty, you realize that if you boil it the smell
is going to come off, right? And your whole place will smell
Signs that you have eaten this cactus include seeing lights
in the corners of your eyes, multicolored alternating patterns
on the floor, the color blue, seeing all those little shadow
people who keep getting in your way. Remember, the shadow
people are not out to get you. These are spirit incarnations
which you can only see while using special cacti products.
But if you are planning any night hikes remember that the
shadow people tend to want to move away or across you, they
generally don't move toward you. If you see something moving
toward you, freak out, that's a bear not a shadow person.
Oh, and mescalito may come and visit you but I've sure as
hell never talked to him. Well, unless he disguised himself
as a blob of undulating goo that seeped between the cracks
of the puzzle-piece patterned tiles. Hmmm.
You may notice that after about eight hours you fall asleep
and wake up on a Tuesday and wonder what happened to the first
half of the month. Alarm clocks do nothing to remedy the situation.