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San Pedro Mania Part II -- Dissection -- Reported 1999-02-15 04:40 by Pao Tzu

Fatty cactus...

Fig. 1.Only the shadow people know...

San Pedro Mania part II -- Dissection

DISCLAIMER I : 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."

DISCLAIMER II : As 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 helllllllla bad.

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.

 

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

nabob@pigdog.org


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