The large vegetable patch has recently revealed a few claret-coloured gems amongst a mass of green foliage. The purple sprouting broccoli, having been planted very late last summer, is ready for harvest.
Purple sprouting broccoli can be harvested from mid-winter onwards, but we’ve waited a little longer before picking out the main head from the stem. A clean cut with a sharp knife will help to encourage side shoots, and lengthen harvest periods to around eight weeks.
As they grow, broccoli plants like a good supply of water. This winter, we’ve had no problem at all with keeping the ground adequately moist…
The florets are ready for harvest when the flower shoots are well developed, but before the flowers actually open. Once picked, the florets can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. But we like to use ours fresh – steamed is best for retaining nutrients such as iron, vitamin C and E, and fibre, and the rich purple colour makes for a fantastic addition to stir fries.
The large tasty spears can also be served steamed with a large knob of butter. For me, the vegan alternative is a large knob of Pure sunflower spread. Another great serving option is balsamic vinegar, or a high quality virgin olive oil. We are also planning to harvest the side shoots, and will bake a sweet potato and broccoli pie.
How do you eat yours?