+ 34 971 636 427
Visit our Ibiza website

Foraging in Mallorca for a deeper connectionApril 1, 2024

Foraging is a great way to explore Mallorca, get to know its nature and introduce some healthy variety into your diet. Springtime in Mallorca when everything is blossoming is the perfect time to go foraging. But where do you start?

I spoke to Uta Gritschke, founder of My Wild Greens, who has pioneered foraging in Mallorca.

Uta grew up in the mainly agricultural region of Westphalia, Germany, before heading to the urban jungle of Berlin to train as an art historian and cultural scientist. Moving to Mallorca, she ran the intimate Interseccio art gallery and boho Sifoneria wine bar in Palma’s Old Town as well as a small specialist deli before deciding to focus entirely on foraging. 

Her love of foraging in Mallorca was sparked nearly 20 years ago when she first came to the island and began going on walks with her then partner’s parents. For them, gathering wild plants for food was a way of life. Uta gave her first guided foraging tour around 12 years ago.

Today, she’s familiar with more than 70 Mallorcan wild plants and around a quarter of her daily diet is wild vegetables and fruit.

I sat down with Uta recently to catch up on the Mallorca foraging scene.


Foraging in Mallorca flourishes

‘My foraging tours are going very well,’ Uta tells me when we meet in her Palma apartment. ‘It’s something people are interested in from all kinds of angles, whether it’s nutrition or self-sufficiency – a big subject right now.’

The people who go on Uta’s trips can be any age but they tend to, she says, ‘Have to have heard a certain call and have a predisposition to forage with me.’

Uta’s foraging walks are for up to 12 people, not including kids who forage for free. For workshops in, for instance, preserving plants or making a skincare, which Uta does whenever she’s invited to do so, more people can take part.

Apart from regular events – the next one is on April 14 – Uta organises foraging trips on demand. ‘It’s a nice thing for families and friends to do together. People will get in touch and say, for example, we live in Porto Colom, would you come and show us what’s growing here. I guide them through the land around their finca, the landscape around them, a nearby village or the seaside. There’s always something interesting in nature.’

Now that it’s foraging season, what does Uta expect to find when she’s taking people foraging in Mallorca?

‘Some of the wild vegetables we’ll find will be originals of what we find in stores. There will be fennel, wild Swiss Chard, wild spinach and amaranth.’

One of the most nutritious plants we have on Mallorca, you’ll find amaranth on every field in late summer. It was introduced to the island from North America as animal feed. Uta has a delicious recipe for wild amaranth soup. 

Other plants growing wild are rather less likely to be part of our diet.

Some of Uta’s foraging discoveries.



Prickly pear

One of Uta’s more recent discoveries is the humble prickly pear cactus which grows in abundance in Mallorca. It’s so invasive you’re not allowed to plant it. As Uta tells me, ‘It’s an extremely sustainable vegetable because it doesn’t need any watering or cultivation. It just grows on its own.’

‘I’ve learned more about its amazing properties,’ she adds. ‘People might know that we can eat prickly pear fruit – they’re a staple veggie in Mexico, for instance – which I didn’t know. But we can also eat the leaves and the pads. Actually, we can eat all members of the opuntia family which prickly pears are a part of.’ 

Now Uta puts prickly pear on pizza, adds it to stir fries and mixes it with scrambled eggs. When she’s out on her foraging tours, she likes to peel off a little of the flesh from a leaf and serve it to her foragers on a small plate with salt. 

‘I love seeing people’s faces when they taste it and discover it’s delicious,’ she says. ‘They’re amazed.’

Incidentally, I just heard that giving someone a prickly pear plant when they moved into a new home was a traditional Mallorca custom. I don’t know if it’s true but I like to think it is.


Unusual preserves: pinecones and fig leaves in syrup

Uta invites us to try her pinecone syrup. Called mugolio in Italian, this is a rich aromatic syrup made by preserving juicy pinecones harvested green for a while. Over time, the liquid from the pinecones mixes with the sugar. The batch I dip my finger in had been fermenting away for three years. It was absolutely delicious. 

Like so many of the wild plants Uta forages for, pinecones are very good for you. They’re packed with phytoncides that protect against infection, can help soothe gastritis and ulcers and contain antioxidants and tannins that cleanse the blood and liver.

Uta also makes fig leaf syrup often. As well as being energising, it adds an intriguing, slightly coconutty, delicious flavour to fizzy drinks, cocktails and ice-cream. 


Fragrant and fantastically good for you.


Making fig leaf syrup

  • Put six fig leaves in a medium saucepan
  • Add two cups of water along with one cup of honey and another of granulated sugar
  • Place over medium heat, stir until the sugar and honey dissolve and boil for two to three minutes 
  • Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool and steep for about an hour. Remove the leaves and place the syrup in a sealable bottle or container 

Stored in the fridge, the syrup will last for up to two weeks.


Rock rose tea from the Tramuntana mountains

Rock rose grows in the Tramuntana mountains. It’s traditionally been used for medicinal purposes in Mallorca, has gastroprotective properties and is rich in polyphenols that may guard against infections, anthocyanins that may help with healthy aging and antioxidants.

Interestingly, drinking rock rose tea is claimed to be a natural tick repellent because the bioactive compounds in the tea produce a smell that’s unpleasant to these and other insects. 


Crown daisies

Uta also makes tea with crown daisies, known in Spanish as la margarita. This grows on fields in Mallorca in abundance but isn’t eaten. 

‘In China,’ Uta explains, ‘crown daisy is a very popular vegetable. People add the young leaves to recipes. Chinese chrysanthemum tea is made with the flowers. They use the flowers in medicines. Crown daisy’s properties are essentially the same as ginseng. It’s energising and makes you feel more mentally alert.’

Uta eats the whole crown daisy plant as a green, leafy vegetable in salads and makes an infusion with the flowers which is good for the liver.


Foraging in Mallorca and the island’s future

Uta is sure that ‘more and more people on the island want to move away from store-bought produce and industrial agriculture. Here on the island, 95% of everything we buy comes from mainland Spain. We don’t really know how those fruit and vegetables are grown and what pesticides are used. When we forage, we have far more control over what we’re eating.’

We also learn more about plants that grow perfectly well on the island without our intervention. Some plants, such as amaranth and purslane, grow best at the hottest time of the year and could be cultivated without placing extra demands on the island’s water supply. 

Right now, while the number of people who go foraging in Mallorca is still small, it is growing. And, when we forage for wild plants that aren’t just delicious and nutritious but also do no harm to the island’s ecosystem, we’re doing our bit to appreciate Mallorca and respect its nature.

To arrange for Uta to come and introduce you to foraging in your area, contact her here. Uta steers clear of mushrooms but you can contact Michael Korn who specialises in mushroom foraging”

    Whilst a lot of weeks are getting booked up for this season, we still have availability across our collection. Please get in touch to secure your booking for this year's holiday. For more information, leave your details, or call us directly: 0034 971 636 427. If you wish to see an agent, we are happy to set up a video call.