We recommend if you have a few days that you do not think about it and discover both the landscapes and the sweet gastronomy of the island. We can find very cheap flights to enjoy unforgettable days with Canarian Transfer.
Lanzarote has a spectacular nature, one of its main tourist attractions. The islanders have been able to take advantage of their Tuneras.
In Lanzarote, as in the rest of the Canary Islands, the cultivation of the Prickly Pear in the Canary Islands has always been linked to the cochineal, but this plant is also known worldwide for other characteristics that the Lanzaroteños have known how to take advantage of. Do you want to know what do we mean? Keep reading, you will be surprised...
Did you know?
La Tunera has made a huge hole in the vegetation of the Canary Islands and especially in Lanzarote. So much so that if we ask any tourist from Europe if he believes that prickly pears are endemic plants of the Canary Islands, he will answer yes.
In the Canary Islands there are 6 species of prickly pear: Opuntia dillenii, Opuntia maxima, Opuntia robusta, Opuntia tomentosa, Opuntia prickly pear and Opuntia vulgaris.
They have been in the Canary Islands since the 17th century. They are from Mexico. And they have provided us with food, fodder in times of scarcity, and even wealth with the cultivation of the cochineal (we will talk about it later).
They are bush-like and produce flattened, oblong, bluish-green cauline segments, 50 cm long, full of spines. The flowers, in the form of a crown, are born on the edges of the segments. It blooms once a year and both the fruit and the flower can be of different colors, from yellow to red. The ripe fruit is an oval-shaped berry, it has a thick, thorny shell, and a pulp abundant in seeds (higo prickly pear).
The pico fig, also called prickly pear, prickly pear, nopal or higo de indias, is a fruit of the plant called prickly pear, prickly pear or penca (scientific name Opuntia). It has an ellipsoidal shape, a thick skin and covered by tiny spikes, so it is necessary to handle them carefully, just by the white part, between the skin and the meat, without going through it, to avoid leaving it visible. There are many varieties of pico figs of different colors. Among the six species of prickly pears that are found in the Canary archipelago, the best known, most common and edible are the Opuntia Maxima, whose fruits are small spiked figs whose flesh is between orange and red when ripe. The other edible species is the Opuntia Dillenii, called the Indian prickly pear or red peak figs, with small fruits and deep red flesh when ripe.
It is a fruit very rich in mineral salts, especially calcium. Also potassium, magnesium and sodium are present in acceptable amounts. Its vitamin C content is appreciable and much higher than that of watermelon and grapes.
A very delicious drink is made from this fruit. The so-called Cactus Liquor, made on the island, specifically in the town of Tahiche by an island company. It can be found for purchase in some supermarkets and in some restaurants. It is usually taken after lunch, since it is considered digestive. , It has an intense red color and a sweet flavor that you want to drink cold. It has 18% alcohol volume.
The Canary Cochineal
The history of La Cochineal has its origin 200 years ago in the Canary Islands. It is an insect, Dactylapius Opuntia, that feeds on the sap of this type of plant.
It is a beneficial pest, and it is recognized by the presence of white spots on the plant.
Nowadays it is easy to find them in the rural areas of the Canary Islands in a type of plant, the Canary Cactus.
The stalks of the prickly pears or nopales, the cactus plants of the genus Opuntia and Cereus, the prickly pear or prickly pear Opuntia maxima Mill, in Lanzarote are grown mainly in the towns of Guatiza and Mala and their cochineal production is considered to be of very good quality.
Cochineal, once dried and crushed, has a carmine color, in fact its main colorant is this, Carmine, and with it an infinite number of reddish or violet tones are obtained, depending on the component used for its mixture.
The dye obtained can be used for a variety of products, from cosmetics to food.
Its sale price was quite high, it was stored in sacks and sold by the kilo. The main buyers were the British and the French.
Collecting this product was hard work. Most of the collectors were women, who used animals such as donkeys or camels to carry their baskets. They had to use an apron that covered their legs to protect themselves from the thorns of the prickly pears.
The golden stage of cochineal sales lasted 21 years (1845-1866)
In Lanzarote we have the spectacular Cactus Garden. Last work of the artist Cesar Manrique. Located in the town of Guatiza, which used to live from the cultivation of cochineal.
A majestic space in which hundreds of species of cacti from around the world are exhibited, and which we can enjoy walking along the paths that make up the tour, a garden dedicated to the Cactus that has more than 5,000 m2 and around 7,200 specimens of more than 1,100 different species of cacti originating from places around the world; Peru, Mexico, Chile, the United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Morocco and the Canary Islands. You can meet him on the Cesar Manrique Tour.
As a curiosity, this center has been the first to make a special hamburger known to the world. A hamburger made from prickly pear. The Cactus Burger, the first of its kind in Spain. It is characterized by being made with products from the island. It is made up of 50% prickly pear, 50% papa (potato), millet (corn) and onion. It is wrapped in a tomato bread, and stuffed with goat yogurt sauce, smoked cheese and arugula.
There are different aloe vera plantations in Lanzarote that can be visited. Without a doubt, it is a different and curious visit that is well worth it.
The variety that is cultivated here is the Aloe Barbadensis miller, which is known as the Canarian Aloe Vera.
Canary aloe vera offers multiple beneficial properties, with endless applications. Among them, its healing power stands out, very effective for treating burns, stings, irritations, stretch marks, scars or wounds.
In addition, its great effectiveness in treating skin problems such as acne, blemishes, dermatitis, herpes, warts, psoriasis, skin rashes, etc. has been proven.
As you have been able to read here in Lanzarote, they have been able to take advantage of their prickly pears. But it is not the only product from which quality material has been extracted.
The gastronomy of the island is one of the richest in the Canary Islands, and also one of the most original since it is tasted in unique places whose flavors are not easily forgotten.