Broccoli and Cauliflower

This week we had bagged broccoli and last week bagged cauliflower…green, orange, and white florets.  The Brassica’s (family of the cauliflower and broccoli) are cool-weather crops.  Several reasons we have been successful in raising them here in the Rocky Mountain Region is that we are at a higher altitude and our evenings are cooler (as a general rule), we use white plastic which helps keep the ground temperature lower, and we chose varieties that can handle our weather (warmer days with the cooler nights).  

This is fine and dandy as long as the weather stays typical, but when we have an atypical season (as we are having this year with the severe heat for an extended time), then the Brassica’s become atypical as well.  Let me illustrate:  

Your broccoli this week was not a beautiful, tight head as in the past; but a 1# bag of broccolettes, many of which looked like they were reaching for the sky!  (I cooked ours today and the flavor was just as sweet as in the past and the texture just as creamy.)  Aesthetically the broccoli is not as symetrical, but practically-speaking still broccoli.  Nutrition and storage ability should remain the same.

This variety is Gypsy–it has strong side production.  We are harvesting all the run-away heads–12 tubs in the cooler to cut apart and bag…and that’s only half of what is out there in the garden…to capitalize on the great side production of crowns and broccolettes.  We might not have a broccoli head this season, but we should have lots of bagged broccoli to enjoy.  (It will be on the Extra’s table for those who love broccoli, and those who love the health advantages of Brassica’s.)

Your cauliflower was bagged for the same reason:  unsymmetrical heads with discoloration.  A large percentage of the Cauliflower is down-right UGLY!  Heads are hairy, discolored, and some had leaves growing out of the center.  They taste bitter, and as Rene’ (a CSA veteran) described it, somewhat hot like a radish.  These are nasty raw!

I had a bunch of ‘seconds’ on the Extra’s Table Thursday.  Just want you to know to steam or boil them–DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EAT THEM RAW….not sure whether roasting or grilling them will alter the flavor.  Some of them (no matter how nicely you treat them), will not lose the hot ‘radish’ flavor.  For the future–we will try to pull those heads that may not amount to much.  I don’t want you to have a bad experience with cauliflower–it is one of those items that can be far superior fresh from the garden, than bought in the store!

Keeping you informed on your Garden Experience!  The Farmer’s Wife


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