This photo of Purple Sprouting Broccoli "Red Arrow", taken with the flash, gives it an almost supernatural look:
Its neighbour, "Rudolph", although less purple, is further advanced and already beginning to put out tiny flowers. These are the embryonic "spears" that we will eventually eat.
The Brussels Sprouts are still frustratingly minuscule. At this rate we'll be eating them for Easter, not Christmas!
I have always been told that you should leave the cabbage-like tops of the Brussels sprout plants in place until the sprouts have been picked, since the plants need them for energy-production. Now I'm not so sure. My blogging friend David Offutt suggests that removing the tops quite early forces the plant to divert energy from the root-system into the sprouts. The results he has achieved are impressive, so maybe I should follow suit.
|Brussels top - "Brilliant"|
Doesn't this make you wonder WHY the leaves are like this? Perhaps it helps with water-retention, or perhaps it traps air to provide better insulation? There has to be a reason for it to have evolved like that, surely. Any ideas?
The best thing about Cavolo Nero and other kales is that you can harvest it progressively, a few leaves at a time, without it looking unduly depleted. We had some yesterday, stirred into some soft polenta - yummy! [More about this to follow soon...]