Have you heard of Ora-pro-nóbis? This edible plant has been attracting attention because of its nutritional benefits. Although its thorns and appearance are intimidating at first, this plant is safe and can be consumed in many ways.
Its scientific name is Pereskia aculeata, but we can call it Ora-pro-nóbis (from the Latin: “pray for us”). He makes reference to a popular tradition in which people harvested the plant in a priest’s yard praying in Latin.
Ora-pro-nóbis is a type of PANC (Non Conventional Food Plants). That is, they are plants with food potential and spontaneous development. However, they are not consumed on a large scale or are used only in a certain region.
This plant is, in fact, very well known by the miners. For this reason, it is common to see it in the backyards and in the fences of the sites in the region of Minas Gerais. There, it is already recognized as an accessible and very nutritious ingredient.
The appearance of Ora-pro-nóbis is quite particular. This plant is a type of climbing plant, it is prickly and grows easily in different types of soil. It has very resistant green leaves, white flowers with orange kernels and yellow, round fruits. Both its leaves and its flowers and fruits can be consumed as food.
How to Plant And Grow Ora-Pro-Nóbis?
The Ora-pro-nobis seedling is easily found at organic produce fairs. To plant it, choose large pots and support the plant with stakes driven into the earth (as it is a climbing plant you will need this support). As you are from the cactus family, you will need sunlight. In apartments, it is important to leave it close to the windows. Outdoors, the ideal is to plant in spring, avoiding rain. When watering, do not leave the plant soaked, however, never leave the soil completely dry. Usually, the first harvest of the leaves occurs 4 months after planting. Perform pruning every two months and remember: it has thorns, so handle it carefully.
In addition to home cultivation, researchers believe that the large-scale cultivation of Ora-pro-nóbis could result in a revolution in world food resources. After all, it is a plant with easy cultivation, high productivity and with an excellent nutritional value.
How to Consume Ora-Pro-Nóbis?
First, the leaves are the most consumed parts of this plant. They are considered “neutral taste”, so they do not have a very characteristic flavor. So for this reason, and also for their pleasant texture, they are very versatile and can be consumed in several ways:
They can be consumed raw in teas, salads and juices. But they can also be sautéed and cooked in different recipes for soups, pies, snacks, omelets and also added to rice. Or, dehydrated and crushed can enrich the flour used in the preparation of pasta and bread.
Consumption of Flowers and Fruits
Flowers, with a sweet taste, can also be eaten in salads or used as a garnish for dishes. But, they only appear for one day in the year and their use ends up being more ornamental.
Its fruits, on the other hand, last more than a day, however they also emerge only at a specific time of the year.
How to Prepare Ora-Pro-Nóbis to Eat?
In short, it is quite simple! For the preparation of Ora-pro-nobis in cooking happens like any vegetable that we usually use in our daily lives, such as cabbage, lettuce, spinach, chard …
Just clean the leaves very carefully and use a large amount, because when sautéed or cooked, their volume is considerably reduced.
What to Do for Ora-Pro-Nóbis Not Drooling?
Many people don’t like the “drool” that can come out of Ora-pro-nóbis when heated. So, see this tip for the plant not to drool:
First, heat the soy oil or olive oil and sauté the garlic. Then add water (enough to cover the plant) and season with salt. Wait for the water to boil. Place the Ora-pro-nóbis and cook for 10 minutes. Finally, drain and use it in any recipe.
Check out some recipes with Ora-Pro-Nóbis:
Typical Minas Gerais Recipe: Chicken With Ora-Pro-Nóbis
- 1 clean, cut and seasoned chicken
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 200ml of homemade chicken stock
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 chopped onions
- 1/2 chopped red pepper
- 1/2 lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- 30 leaves of Ora-pro-nobis
- A bit of salt
- Add the oil, lemon juice and chicken pieces in a pan;
- Then, stir over medium heat until the chicken begins to brown;
- Add the garlic and stir for a few more minutes;
- After lightly browning the chicken pieces, remove the excess fat from the pan;
- Then add the onions and peppers, mixing them with the chicken pieces;
- Add a few pinches of Worcestershire sauce, homemade broth and salt;
- Add hot water, little by little, until the chicken cooks;
- After the chicken is cooked, spread the leaves of Ora-pro-nobis over the chicken;
- Finally, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 3 minutes and serve.
- Add 5 leaves of Ora-pro-nóbis in 300ml of boiling water;
- Boil for 10 minutes;
- Turn off the heat and wait for it to cool;
- If you prefer sweet.
Green Juice with Ora-Pro-Nóbis
- 5 leaves of Ora-pro-nobis
- 1 slice of pineapple
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 glass of coconut water
Beat everything in a blender for 2 minutes and consume right after preparation.
What Are The Benefits Of Ora-Pro-Nóbis?
The nutrients present in Ora-pro-nóbis can bring many benefits to the health and well-being of those who consume it.
So we highlight the following benefits:
Good Protein Source
Ora-pro-nóbis is, in summary, a great source of vegetable protein. Because approximately 25% of its composition is protein. It also contains amino acids (the smallest part of the protein) essential to the body, such as tryptophan and lysine. Therefore, this makes this plant a good option to enrich the protein content of the food.
Proteins are important nutrients for the formation and maintenance of the health of hair, skin and nails. But, they also help in building and rebuilding the body’s muscles. In addition, they form our defense cells (antibodies) and various hormones.
Aid In Proper Intestine Functioning
Because it contains a high content of dietary fiber, this plant helps in the correct intestinal functioning, therefore avoiding constipation (constipation). Fibers are nutrients that promote the feeling of satiety, thus helping to maintain a healthy weight.
Can Prevent Anemia
Ora-pro-nobis contains a good amount of iron, a fundamental mineral, as it participates in the transport, storage and release of oxygen to the cells. Therefore it also helps in the formation of blood cells and prevents anemia.
The iron found in foods of plant origin, such as Ora-pro-nóbis, is not well absorbed by the body. However, concomitant consumption with foods rich in vitamin C (such as lemon, orange, acerola) can improve this absorption.
Important For The Body’s Defense System
Because it is a source of vitamin C and vitamin A, it helps to strengthen the immune system, thus preventing the appearance of colds, flu and infections. These nutrients are also antioxidants, so they help fight free radicals, preventing premature aging of healthy body cells.
Where to find Ora-Pro-Nóbis?
In addition to the possibility of planting and cultivating Ora-pro-nóbis in your own home, you can also find its leaves in stores of natural and organic products, but in fresh, dehydrated or powdered forms.