I just thought I'd post up my prefered method of cacti preparation/consumption, take from it what you will. This is just my own personal preference, each to thier own. Step One: Purchase your prefered cactus from a reliable source. In my case fresh San Pedro from my local head shop. I usually use around 600 grams per person per trip. This comes in a whole unprepared branch of cactus. Step Two: Despine the cactus. I do this by first taking a scissors and triming all the spines/needles down to a milimeter or two. Next I go about removing the remainder of the spines. This is done by taking a sharp knife (I use an exacto knife/stanley blade/box cutter, whatever you want to call it) and cutting a diagonal \ and / shaped slice down into the cactus on each side of each spine, then prying out the small wedge of cactus which contains the remainder of the spine. The base of the spines usully go about 1-3 milimeter beneath the skin, so this is how deep you cut. You can save all these cactus wedges containing the pieces of spine and later remove the bits of spines completely if you don't want the little pieces of cactus to go to waste, but they add up to a very small percentage of the overall cactus material you will be consuming so I don't bother. Step Three: Cut up your cactus into several star shaped slices about 2-3 inches thick. Step Four: Skin the slices. The way I do this is to make a tiny cut and then just peel the skin off as if you are unrolling a roll of cellatape. Most of the time the skin will come away from the flesh of the cactus perfectly but occasionally little bits of flesh will come off stuck to the skin. If this happens just scrape the bits of flesh off the skin with a blade. Skinning like this gets easier with practice and I can skin a 12" piece of cactus cut into slices in about two minutes now. Step Five: Remove the core of the slices. The centre part of the cactus has very little mescaline in it compared to the green fleshy parts. And going on anicdotal eveidence is responsible for most of the nausea some people expierince from eating cacti, best to just throw it out. The core is the bit in the centre that is lightest in colour (whitish-yellow). To remove this core just cut in a circle around it and pop it out. It can be a bit difficult trying to handle the slimy cactus slices so I dab them with a dry clean cloth to make them easier to handle. Step Six: Slice up your cactus slices. Basically just dice them into smaller pieces. This will help the cactus dry out faster and makes later steps easier. You could just throw the pieces into a blender but I prefer to dice them by hand. Step Seven: Dry out your diced cactus. I do this simply by spreading it out on a plate and leaving it somewhere out of the reach of children and animals (and thieves) and allow it to dry out naturally. It takes about 4 days and nights to dry out like this. But I live in Ireland which is a very wet place and dry it away from fresh air and direct sunlight, so obviously if you live somewhere warm or if you dry it in the open air and sunlight it will dry much faster. (Note: The colour the cactus changes while at different stages of drying out is really incredible, a strange mix of vibrant red, purples and greens, I will take a picture next time.) Step Eight: Powder your cactus. Take your dryed out cactus (when dry it will be a lot smaller in volume and hard) and throw it into a blender or coffee grinder or anything else that will accomplish your needs (I find a blender to be the best) and crush it into a fine powder. Step Nine: Consume your cactus powder. This is always going to be a matter of personal tastes but these are the 4 ways I go about it. (1). Throw some the powder into a small glass of strong tasting beverage (beer, orange juice, coke ect) a bit at a time and stir it well with a spoon, then shoot it. It will not taste good but it will be bearable. Repeate untill all the powder is consumed. This stuff will not want to mix with the beverage, it will not dissolve in any real way, so shoot it as soon as you mix it about or it will just gather at the bottom of the glass. (2). Put the powder into an empty glass and the add just enough strong tatsing and pleasant beverage (as above) so that the powder soaks it up and becomes a kind of goey paste. Next squash the paste up as tight as you can into several small balls. Now throw the balls into you mouth one at a time and immediately wash them down witha big mouthful of beverage. You should barely taste anything but your beverage of choice with this method. (3). Mix the powder through a paste like food of your choice. Peanut butter, chocalate spread, nutella, depending on your personal tastes and either eat it on its own or spread it onto a sandwich or somethig and eat it like that. (4). Stuff the powder into capsules and swallow them down. Thier is a lot of powder so you will be eating a lot of capsules so I am not a big fan of doing it this way, as I have heard that eating that many capsules can give you pretty bad diahrea.