The End of the Broccoli

When we cleaned up the garden for the winter, we left a row of broccoli plants under a greenhouse hoop to see if their small heads and side shoots would plump up at all. When we tucked them under the plastic, they looked really great:

A few weeks ago I had harvested some nice, green shoots for a salad — they were tender and tasty, if a bit on the small side. At that time, when I cut the center head, there were lots of side shoots to be had:

Ah, but then the winds blew. There was no blizzard, no storm--not really even any rain. But the wind gusted up around 40-45 mph, and that was enough to uncover our remaining broccoli:

We could hear the plastic flapping loose before we went to bed, but no one was about to step out into the dark of night and wind chills of 5 degrees Fahrenheit to try to fix it. As you can see, the broccoli plants didn't like that one bit, and froze up. 

All that's left to do is see what can be salvaged from the dead (or dying) plants. As it turns out, there was quite a bit worth saving:

Lots of tasty, tiny side shoots were still frozen when I went outside to cut them around 2:30 this afternoon. The temperature never got above freezing today at all, so they were preserved — a stroke of luck. It's when frozen plants thaw out that they get mushy and gross and dead. I was able to cut all the little shoots and get the directly into the fridge to control their thaw-out.

Kirk added the broccoli shoots and some more of our baby carrots to a lime and ginger chicken curry. There's also red pepper, celery, and one of our cilantro pesto cubes rounding out the veggies in this dish.

It was yummy, and that's including the tiny leaves around the broccoli shoots. Kirk gave them a taste before cooking them, and since they were small and tender, he just threw them in without bothering to strip the leaves.

Still, as good as they taste, I think this Italian variety was a lot of trouble for not much payoff. Sure, side shoots are nice, but I'd like to get a nice, big head of broccoli out of a plant first. Next year, we'll be trying a market variety instead, I think.


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