Fruit and veg in Tenerife
Tenerife is where bananas, grapes, tomatoes and potatoes are grown in the Canary Islands, many visitors to the island would say, and indeed they are, but many other fruit and vegetables are cultivated there too.
It is easy to see why bananas would spring to mind because large banana plantations cover a lot of the land, and so do vineyards full of grapes. There are big fields of potato plants in lines, especially in the north of the island, and most restaurants sell “papas arugadas” as a typical Canarian traditional dish. These are unpeeled potatoes cooked in brine and very salty. They are served with green or red "mojo" sauce.
Fruit from Tenerife
Fruit trees and vegetables all over Tenerife
If you wish to see the real variety of other crops that are grown on the island you need to go to parts of the north, where because of the cooler and wetter climate all sorts of fruits, nuts and vegetables are produced.
Besides the fields of potatoes you will find lettuce, leeks, onions, cabbages, cauliflowers, carrots and globe artichokes. Pumpkins, cucumbers, melons and marrows are other commonly grown vegetables.
Citrus fruit trees tend to grow better in the north as well and it is easy to see oranges, lemons, and grapefruit being grown.
Plums, peaches, apricots, apples and pears, as well as cherries, are all fruit trees that do well in the mountain areas of the north.
Avocados, mangoes and papayas are exotic fruit that are grown all over Tenerife and are often included in what are mainly banana plantations. The tall papaya tree with its large leaves is very popular as an ornamental tree as well as being popular for its fruit.
Walnut and sweet chestnut trees are seen in the north of Tenerife, and the latter are very common in some areas. Chestnuts are very popular with the local people of the island.
Almonds flourish in the drier parts of the island and Santiago del Teide is one part where the trees are grown in large numbers. In early spring they look incredible when in full bloom and their pink blossoms really beautify the landscape.
Guided walks are often organised in almond-blossom time so that people can enjoy the experience of seeing these nut trees at their best. The countryside looks really magical and picturesque when all the trees are in full flower.
The loquat or “níspero”, as it is called in Spanish, is a very popular fruit tree on Tenerife that is grown in the north and south of the island. The fruit are ready for harvest early in the spring and it is one of the first crops to be gathered.
This tree has large leaves and is grown for its ornamental quality as well as for its juicy fruit.
Gardeners in the north and south of Tenerife often grow sweet peppers and chilli peppers. Aubergines are another vegetable grown here.
Prickly pear cacti are found growing all over Tenerife having colonised the island long ago. There are two main types with the purple-fruited Opuntia dillennii being the one you are likely to see in the south of the island.
The other species is Opuntia ficus-barbarica and it grows more frequently in the north and more mountainous parts of the south. It has "pears" that are green but ripen into a yellow or reddish colour. The spines are removed and these fruit are often sold in markets and from the fruit and vegetable counters in shops and supermarkets.
Prickly pears were originally grown on the Canary Islands for the cochineal dye produced from the bugs that live on the cactus pads. In the mountain village of Masca you can actually enjoy cactus ice cream.
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
Steve Andrews (author) from Tenerife on June 18, 2010:
Thank you, Kaie!
Kaie Arwen on June 17, 2010:
You have succeeded in making me hungry! Great information and scrumptious pictures! Nicely done! Kaie