San Pedro cactus is a large, columnar cactus found in the Andes of South America that contains mescaline, which has hallucinogenic effects when ingested. The cactus is sold in nurseries in the United States and is legal to possess, but is illegal to consume unless one has a medical prescription. The plant can be grown in sunny, arid conditions, making it easy to grow at home.
San Pedro cactus branches are long and can reach up to 15 feet. These branches can be cut and dried for storage and to make tea. While San Pedro is probably best known for its mind-altering properties (which you should definitely not ingest without knowing what you’re doing), it also has a sweet flavor that makes it ideal for teas, juices, smoothies, and salads.
Things You Will Need
- Perforated tray Sharp
- knife over San Pedro
- Grapefruit tip Spoon
- Plastic bags
- glass jar with lid
The San Pedro does not have large spines, but there are enough to make you very uncomfortable. Hold the cactus at one end and knife to break the skin at the high points around the circumference where the spines are. You will want to wear gloves when doing this as they can get prickly around your fingers and hands causing some discomfort later on when handling them after processing.
•Slice the tip into disks 1/2 to 1 inch thick. To remove the pith where the mescaline is, cut the branch in half lengthwise and base away from the center. You can use a knife or a serrated grapefruit spoon. After the bark is removed, cut off the limb.
•It’s easy: all you have to do is cut the cactus into discs and place them on a tray with lots of holes in it. Then, leave the tray out in the sun for a day or two. The sun will dry the water out of the cactus and take off some of the moisture. Once it’s completely dried out, start picking at the remaining skin from the cactus until it comes off in strips. This step is optional, but it will help get rid of any bugs or dirt that might be on the cactus.
•Flip the cactus on top and let it dry for two days. Check the center for moisture. Discs can take up to six days to dry.
Store dried discs in sealed plastic bags in a dark, dry place. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle to crush the San Pedro cactus and prepare it for tea. Store in closed glass jars and use that dissolves in water, juice or any other liquid.
How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Cactus?
One of the more common methods of preserving cactus is to dehydrate it. This is done by placing the plant on a screen and exposing it to high heat in an oven or dehydrator. When dehydrating with either method, it’s important to monitor the process closely because too much heat can damage or even destroy the cactus.
A study to find out how long it takes for this process to occur in a laboratory setting. They examined how much time it took three species (two with thorns and one without) of cladodes—the large, flat structures that store water—to completely dry out when exposed to different temperatures in an oven set at 80 °C (176 °F). They found that the time to dry cladodes was very large; it ranged from 80 to 360 h for those with thorns and from 50 to 260 h for those without thorns.
How to Powder San Pedro Cactus
The first way is the simplest, it consists of removing the bones from the San Pedro and carefully peeling the skin. Then, it is dried at low temperatures and then crushed and reduced to powder. This powder can be taken with water or with food. For those who prefer to avoid its flavor, there is always the option of encapsulating it.
Another way is to boil it. You can boil only the skin or also the inner part (except the marrow) for which we will cut it into slices, chop it or crush it before boiling it. You can also beat it before putting it in the pot with a blender, in this way later the content can be filtered more easily. The way to boil it is to put it in a large pot with triple the water of San Pedro. It will be covered and left to boil for 6-7 hours. When about 3 hours have passed you can add 200 grams of whole cane sugar and/or lemon juice to reduce its bitter taste (this is optional). After all this time, it should be filtered well with a cloth filter. Squeeze well because the pulp retains a lot of water. It will probably be necessary to filter several times to eliminate the gelatinous substance that forms.