Foraging is a great way to make the most of the abundant and fertile flora that envelops the island, however, as with anything promoted on this website, the number one rule is be respectful! The island offers us plenty of edible goods, but we must be sensible in how much we pick and make every effort to restore what we take.
Normally a bit of a luxury veg, asparagus can be found sprouting all over the island come spring time. There is nothing more satisfying than heading out with a basket and some scissors and spending a morning or afternoon hunting down these delicious sprigs. They can generally be found in or around the bramble-like bush that makes up the asparagus plant, which is why it is also recommended that you take some thick gloves on these trips unless you don’t mind coming back with some scavenger-wounds. To pick either trim or snap them off near the base, usually they snap naturally at the point which separates the harder root from the more tender stem.
You will find carob trees pretty much all over the island, they are dark in colour and have a mildly sweet taste and woody texture if eaten raw. Traditionally these pods were used to feed animals, but there has been somewhat of a revolution in the use of carobs in cooking, presumably arriving hand in hand with the new wave of health conscious cooking. Now carobs are used in many ingenious methods: converted into a malty syrup, ground into flour or sugar and used in baking, drinks and coffee.
Rock roses grow naturally all over the island and are generally overlooked and dismissed as a weed, if a pretty one at that. The flower itself however can be made into a tea that is supposed to have a more potent and beneficial antioxidant effect than green tea or red wine. It is also claimed to detoxify the body by removing heavy metals from the system. Additionally if you are out camping and are caught short, the leaves of this plant make great make-shift toothbrushes due to their textured surface. Why not cut off a stem after the flowering period and plant it soil to create your very own Rock Rose plant at home.
This fragrant herb is used in so many different cooking procedures it would be hard to list them all, from flavouring meat, to infusing alcohol, to seasoning breads and even desserts. Another great use, as with the rock rose, is to make a herbal tea out of it which aids digestion, boosts memory and is an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory. Luckily this plant grown all over the island and is available all year round so you need never be short of its flavoursome properties.
If you’ve already got scissor-happy with these herbs and plants before and are looking to find out more about the medicinal benefits of the plants that grow naturally in Ibiza, then get in touch with Esencia Viva. This centre has been known to organize interesting workshops on medicinal plants and how to forage for them giving you a chance to take your knowledge of the local flora to the next level.