I dined on a tasty homegrown treat yesterday, something from the Brassica family. Can you identify the vegetable in the below photo? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not broccoli raab, or gai lan (aka Chinese broccoli), and it’s definitely not choy sum. But I guess you could say it is a cousin of all three of them.
Got it figured out yet? It’s the young flowering shoots of the kale I let go to seed. I’ve got more than enough seed forming from the Beedy’s Camden kale I let flower this spring, so I decided to harvest some of the remaining flowers coming out as side shoots.
I gave them a quick blanch in boiling water, then served them up with a little salt and butter. The flavor sort of reminds me of a mild broccoli raab, not really bitter, but not really sweet like the leaves of this kale. It’s definitely a tasty treat. And this will probably be my last time to enjoy it this year. I’ll be pulling the plants as soon as the seed ripens.
Most all of the flowers of the Brassica family are edible. Some brassicas are grown specifically for their flowers, like broccoli and cauliflower. But many like pak choy, tatsoi and kale that are grown primarily for their leaves have flowers that are quite tasty and nutritious as well.
And speaking of tasty treats, it’s almost time for another late spring favorite around here: garlic scapes. My records tell me I harvested the first ones in 2011 on May 30th, but with everything running 2-3 weeks earlier this year, I expect to see some scapes forming any day now. And what do we do with garlic scapes? For one thing, I make Garlic Scape Pesto. And I make Garlic Scape Dressing, with a great recipe shared by fellow blogger Daphne.
We’ll soon be saying goodbye to another springtime treat. This will be the last week of the 2012 asparagus harvest. It’s been a great year, with the beds giving us over 27 pounds so far. We’ve got some in the freezer to make soup with later, in case we start craving some asparagus. Still, it will be a long time before the 2013 harvest season rolls around.
But even as asparagus is exiting, the cherries are starting to ripen. And it looks like blueberries won’t be far behind. Hopefully we can keep the birds away from both of these treats.
So that’s a peek at what garden treats we are harvesting and eating here. I hope you are enjoying whatever seasonal goodies you can find in your neck of the woods!