Friday, February 24, 2012

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

I was out in the vegetable garden the other morning
 doing one of my almost daily inspections
and noticed that this plant...


is finally doing this...


So, almost 7 months to the day after the seeds were sown,
today I finally harvested my first bunch of
Purple Sprouting Broccoli.


They are almost pretty enough to put in a vase.


Almost, but I've been waiting too long to just look at them. They will be eaten tonight. They should be a tasty accompaniment to the Point Reyes Blue twice baked souffles that I'm making. (The recipe is from the 2011 winter edition of Edible Marin and Wine Country magazine).

FYI, in the first photo the plants behind the Purple Sprouting broccoli are some Piracicaba broccoli plants loaded with seed pods and some Di Sarno Calabrese broccoli plants in full spectacular bloom. The bees and other beneficial insects love the broccoli blossoms. The seeds for those plants were sown about a year ago. I'm not saving the Piracicaba seeds to grow, I just figured that the chickens might like to snack on them.

I should also note that this is the first time that I've been able to successfully harvest a crop of Purple Sprouting broccoli, finally, on what is at least my third attempt. In the past I've been able to grow nice big healthy plants but the shoots had always become incredible aphid magnets, to the point where I've always just tossed the whole plants into the compost without being able to harvest anything remotely edible. These shoots do have a few aphids, but nothing that I can't clean out by blanching and shocking the shoots before I use them in a final preparation. I think that the difference this time is that my garden is far more friendly to beneficial insects than when I've attempted to grow the Purple variety in the past. The aphids still appear in all of my brassicas but the infestations rarely get out of hand because there is a healthy population of beneficial insects.

15 comments:

  1. I am jealous! I've tried growing this twice, each time starting in the fall to overwinter. One year we had a very cold winter followed by a very wet spring and the plants didn't survive. The next time, the plants had not produced shoots by the time of the frost. This year we've had a very mild winter, I wonder if if they would have been successful if I had tried them?

    I hope they are delicious.

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    1. henbogle, I'll let you know it they are tasty enough to merit all the fuss and bother of growing them. At least they are pretty.

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  2. The purple broccoli is very pretty. Was the purple color more vivid after cooking or did it turn to green?

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    1. Norma, I haven't cooked it yet, but I suspect that the purple will fade when it's cooked. I'll let you know.

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  3. I find it just takes too long for it to be of much use to me. I grew it last year but by the time I harvested the first lot of shoots it was pretty much time to pull it out to make way for summer crops so I didn't get the benefit of a second round.

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    1. Liz, I hope it doesn't take too long to produce another round, I'll need to clean out that bed pretty soon. There's a second plant that shows no signs of shoots yet, I'm not sure I'll get anything from it.

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  4. Last year was my first year with purple sprouting broccoli, and I fell in love. I had five plants and ate it almost every night for about a month, and I was able to share, too. This year, I have five plants again--they're beginning to think about sprouting but aren't there yet. I can't wait for them though. I'm glad you finally got a crop from it and hope that you find it worth the time and space in the garden.

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    Replies
    1. I am so happy to hear that the purple broccoli is a winner for you! I didn't get around to cooking it tonight, but I will soon and can't wait to try it. It is nice that it is slower to mature than the other broccolis that I grow, it allows for a longer season. If it's as yummy as you say then I will prpbably have to find room for it next season and remember to be patient...

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  5. Beautiful. It really does make a wonderful bouquet. I hope it tastes great.

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  6. I've always been fascinated by the sprouting broccoli but never tried growing them. Despite our mild (relatively) winter, all my other broccoli plants didn't make it.

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  7. I'm so jealous! I was back at the old house last week and looked at mine. They seemed rather dead. Oh well. I was hoping they would make though the winter since ours has been so mild this year. Yours look wonderful.

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  8. That is a beautiful plant and the sprouts are certainly "fancy" with the coloration. I bet they tasted yummy. I miss broccoli and will be delighted when my young seedlings are ready to go in the ground and grow on to produce for us. The gap from the fall crop to the spring crop is always too long.

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  9. Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead Tiffany @ No Ordinary HomesteadFebruary 28, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    So impressing! The Purple Sprouting Broccoli looks great! I'll pushed a space in my garden for that beautiful plant, so can the rest of the plant be eaten? I actually host a weekly gardening link up every Friday on my blog. I'd love for you to drop by and join in.

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  10. when the plants have gone to seed, do you know if you can cook and eat the little seed pods?

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    1. I have no idea, but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to try them, they may just be tough if you pick them too large.

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