Greetings from San Lorenzo, Ibiza and welcome to our beautiful, awe inspiring and invigorating spring season where the flower powers are blooming all over the island. In case you didn’t know, we have two springs in Ibiza, one is the so-called “Autumn” and another, well… It’s now Spring 2020, right about late February to early March as per the old Gregorian Calendar. The Autumn-spring and the spring-Spring are two of my favorite seasons in Ibiza for two main reasons, one is the peace and quiet before the big Summer season begins, and second is the relief when the season winds down . The mild weather and somewhat empty island, makes it a perfect time to go explore the wild side of Ibiza..
I’ve spent 8 full years living here now, I consider myself a postgraduate student Ibiza life, learning more day by day. I have left the crazy city life of Los Angeles behind and from the instant I landed in Ibiza, a love affair with nature began, a Mediterranean paradise. In Ibiza I discovered what an almond blossom was, and found the source of almonds, amazing, I also met the mighty mighty Fig tree. When bicycling in the summer months, I ride along the back country roads breathing in the distinctive sweet Fig tree breeze in the air, what a delicious feeling! Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Let’s go into the fields of wild Ibiza now, there are some millionaire herbs growing in Ibiza, most commonly: rosemary, thyme and some not so common flowers like the Helichrysum (Immortelle); these are very easy to spot and most people know them around the Mediterranean.
Now I’ll share with you some of the seasonal healing plants and natural foods that are available in Ibiza during the months of March into April.
- Loquat /Eriobotrya japonica/ (aka Japanese/Chinese plum) (Spa. Nispero)
By far one of my favorite fruits in the whole wild world, the Loquat or, Nispero in Spanish, is available late March into the end of April. The Nispero is a delicious tangy-sweet fruit, the trees are all over the island and some are roadside also, the Loquat when mature has to appear very orange in color and a little soft like most ripened fruits, be sure to grab some before the birds get to them or they just rot on the ground. Recently I’ve made some delicious Chutney out of Nisperos, a great recipe to pair with meats and/or cheese. Enjoy!
Please always be considerate of the location of the tree and if you think it belongs to someone be sure to ask permission before picking, they usually say yes.
- Wild Carrot /Dacus Carota/ (aka Queen Anne’s lace) (Spa. Zanahoria silvestre)
Mostly just a beautiful flower to look at and maybe gift a loved one as part of a wild flower bouquet, the Wild Carrot, aka Queen Anne’s Lace is an aromatic flower, its composed of many tiny white flowers with a little bug-like feature in the middle. While the flower is still fresh I’ve seen people making Tempura with it, I haven’t tasted it myself yet, but try it if you’re brave, recipes found online. In the summer months when the flower is dried out, the seeds remain on the flower and are sticky prickly balls, this is when the aroma is most intense, give them a whiff.
- Mediterranean Thistle /Silybum marianum / (Similar to Milk Thistle) (Spa. Cardo Mariano)
The Mediterranean Thistle or, Cardo Mariano in Spanish, is a prickly weed with a flower on top, they grow up to almost a meter in height, sometimes even more. I’m collecting some of the flowers right now to perhaps make myself some healing tea in the future. It’s full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Historically the leaves and stems have been used as a food source. Of course nobody does that nowadays because it’s a lot of work. You have probably seen Milk Thistle pills for sale at your local health store, well it’s a similar plant. Super good for your health the science claims. Take a walk in the campo or bike ride, you will notice this flower all over the fields! Medical studies show that active ingredients extracted from this Thistle plant, called Silibinin can aid in the cure and/or reduce brain tumors.Loquat /Eriobotrya japonica/ (aka Japanese/Chinese plum) (Spa. Nispero)
- Wild Asparagus /Asparagus acutifolius and Asparagus horridus/ (Spa. Esparrago silvestre)
Now for one of the biggest culinary treasures of the Ibiza spring, the green majestic Wild Asparagus. The Mediterranean wild asparagus is found all over the place, it grows along rock walls and alongside every Ibiza road, but some don’t notice, because they are moving so fast. The asparagus is green as opposed to the typical white ones sold in supermarkets and shipped from Peru (9,124 km away). Wild Asparagus grows above ground and when the sun hits it, it creates chlorophyll thus turning green. You can forage for asparagus as early as mid-February into late March, but you must be quick about it, the crafty Ibicencos love to forage for this vegetable and know the best locations find it in abundance. I guided a bicycle tour at the end of February and we collected enough asparagus riding on a 2km stretch of backroads for everybody and we made a delicious Asparagus tortilla from our foraging! Bon provit! As the locals say wholeheartedly in Catalan…
Thank you and see you next time to read my journeys around the lush fields and caminos of Ibiza roadsides and for more adventures in Nature , Wild Thymes with Gato Suarez.
I wish peace and tranquility for all of you during these strange times, keep safe, keep strong, Think Local, Act Local.