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Frozen Opuntia Cactus

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by Turtulas-Len, Feb 2, 2019.

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  1. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I live where it gets cold during winter and have a large sulcata that loves cactus, I grow both types, with spines and spine-less, The spine-less types that I grow are more tender than the types with spines so they are what he gets during the winter months. I usually cut the pads off the plants and bring them inside to warm up for a while before feeding them to him. This morning he came out early looking to eat, when I cut the pads and brought them in I checked their temp with the temp gun and it read 20 degrees F. Picture 001.jpg I soaked them in water and they warmed up quickly. So Walker could enjoy his morning snack and go back into his warm house. Picture 002.jpg Picture 004.jpg Anyway this got me thinking about freezing cactus for later use which has been talked about on this forum several times.maybe if you dehydrate the pads some before freezing, like what happens naturally to what I grow starting in the fall it wont turn to mush when thawed out. In the spring all mine re-hydrate and start growing again. Picture.jpg I cut this 11 inch pad off before it got cold and it has been sitting in a bucket inside the house along with about 5 other pads and has dried out pretty good. I'm going to put it in a freezer for about a month and see how it does after thawing out. If it doesn't melt I'll plant it to see if it will root.
    ColaCarbonaria and jsheffield like this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Allowing them to dehydrate sounds like a pretty good idea. After all, it's the water in the plant that freezes.
  3. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Following with interest ....

    Jamie
  4. Stoneman

    Stoneman Active Member

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    Part of what is so beneficial from cactus is the moisture. I got a bunch of pads on sale and froze them and thawed them and they were soggy. Not very appealing to the eye but they still are them. I am not sure if you are just stating what you are doing or if there is supposed to be a question in there. If the question is, is it okay to feed? the answer is yes. Freezing causes a physical change, not a chemical one. Everything is still there, but the cells have bursted changing its consistency. It is fine to feed them that.
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  5. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    I have tried just about everything with cactus. If my memory isnt playing tricks on me, vacuum sealing and then freezing keeps most things I have tried freezing in the best condition.
    Now if you chop up the cactus with food processor until it's in tiny bits and then freeze it will stay like that without needing to vacuum seal.
  6. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I was just making an observation that I never thought about before.I have been feeding my sulcata cactus that freeze every winter for over 20 years and even though it does freeze it is not damaged in any way from being froze. But if i cut some pads off during the summer and freeze them they get mushy when thawed out. The only question is will the pad I cut off during warm weather and it dehydrated some while setting in a bucket will get mushy after a month in the freezer when thawed.
  7. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I took the pad out of the freezer and the temp was just above zero and hard as a rock. Picture.jpg I'll let it thaw out over night in the house and tomorrow i will put it outside in a sunny spot and see what happens
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  8. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    Interesting.... i drive past a place or two that has a few patch of cactus here too. Freezes down in winter to flat pancakes, but they appear to resurrect each Spring and flourish through the Summer. Only to repeat the process with first frosts.

    It will be interesting to see your pad here in a few hours....
  9. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    It looks fine Picture.jpg so I planted it in a 10 inch nursery pot.I hope it will root and grow, Time will tell.
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