I Wrote “What Fruit & Vegetable Are Grown in Portugal?” After Watching The Carob Bean Harvest in the Algarve. Discover More About Portuguese Vegetable and Fruit Gardening Here.
I’m going to start with an unusual answer to What Fruit & Vegetable Are Grown in Portugal?, simply because it prompted me to write this post.
Carob probably isn’t a fruit you often think about. We don’t grow it in the UK. But many Portuguese gardens have a Carob Bean Tree, Ceratonia siliqua, aka The Lotus Bean Tree.
Over the years it has been grown as an animal feed and as a last resort for hungry humans. But today it is used as an ingredient in many products, from smoothies and other drinks to being used as a stabiliser or thickening agent in food manufacture. Traditionally it has also been used as a chocolate substitute. Both the bean and the pod can be used in various ways.
And my Portuguese friends make a rather splendid Carob and Orange cake. Follow the link for the recipe.
But what of the more usual and unusual vegetables and fruit? this post is entitled What Fruit & Vegetable Are Grown in Portugal? So lets get to it.
The answer is almost every species we can grow in the UK can be grown somewhere in Portugal. Plus there are several things that grow in Portugal that we cannot grow. And don’t forget that Portugal isn’t just an European mainland country. It includes the Azores and Madeira, both with unique climates.
And where more shelter is needed to produce top class fruit and veg on mainland Portugal, recent years has seen significant growth in protected cropping. Many new structures that it would be hard to call greenhouses or even polytunnels have been constructed and they produce huge volumes of produce for home consumption and export.
And at the end of the post I’ll mention some of the agricultural produce farmed in Portugal. It’s a quite an interesting list that many visitors to the country never see.
Almonds (Prunus amygdalus, syn. Prunus dulcis)
Almonds and the Algarve go together for me. Almonds are added to many recipes and there is even an almond cake, locally called Almendrados do Algarve.
Almonds are obtained from a deciduous tree that grows to up top 40ft (13m) high. Its a tree that loves the mediterranean type climate, which means warm dry summers and mild wet winters. the cooler weather is important to it as it needs 200 to 700 hours below 7.2 °C (45.0 °F) if it is to fruit properly.
Almonds aren’t actually nuts as they have a hard outer shell (exocarp) and a softer fruit within. Technically this makes them a drupe, not a nut.
In the UK we sometimes grow what we call a quince in our flower gardens. In the case we are growing a cousin of the true quince. We are growing a Japanese Quince or Chaenomeles.
True quince Cydonia oblonga grow in Portugal and often carry quite a lot of fruit. They are often processed into jams and jellies. An alcoholic drink can slo be made from them as well as a quince cheese aka membrillo. I love quince cheese served with goats cheese and black olives. It’a a dish made in heaven.
Loquats originate from China, but many Portuguese gardens have a loquat tree. It’s an evergreen tree that flowers in autumn or early winter. This means the fruit appear in spring or early summer. Loquat fruit are orange in colour and have a sharp tangy acid flavour depending on the variety, of which there seems to be several.
Anona da Madeira (Annona cherimola Mill.)
I love anon fruit. It is exquisite. But it’s not common outside of madeira, though I sometimes see it in Algarvian markets.
My first introduction to anona was via a Madeiran fruit farmer who took me to some trees high on a mountain ridge.
I’ll be adding more Portuguese fruit and veg to this article very soon.
Conventional Portuguese Vegetables
Fava beans, red beans, white beans, black eyed beans, pumpkins, collards, kale, potatoes, onions, carrots, etc are all grown far and wide in Portugal.
Fruit and nuts grown and eaten include grapes, apples, bananas, plum, pears, raspberries, blackberries, redcurrant and blueberries, peaches, pomegranates, apricots, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, strawberries, melons, watermelons, citrus, figs, plums, peaches, cherries, sour cherries,
Unusual Portuguese Vegetables
To be added later.
English – Portuguese Dictionary
Please scroll to see whole page.
Portuguese Agricultural Crops
In terms of vegetable, fruit and nuts Portugal produces quantities of wheat, barley, oats, rice, green vegetables, maize ( corn), olives, oilseeds, nuts, cherries, apples, oranges, lemons, bilberry, table grapes, wine grapes, edible mushrooms etc. Some sugar cane is produced in Maderia, and on the mainland, but only around 5,000 tons of sugar results.
Portuguese Rice Growing
Two types of rice are grown in Portugal, Japonica and Indian. They are mainly grown in the Atlantic facing areas of Vale do Tejo (Tagus Valley), Sado and Mondego. Historically it was also grown in the lower reaches of the Guadiana river near Castor Marim.
The fact rice is grown in Portugal may well explain why it is often served alongside chips on so many dishes!
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