Friday 18 December 2015

Second(ary) crop is not necessarily second best

I have used all the sprouts on the first of my (4) Brussels Sprout plants now, and there are only a few little ones left on the second plant, huddled up under the leaves at the top.

But now the Top itself is beckoning. The cluster of leaves at the growing tip of the plant, traditionally known as the Top, is really good to eat - just like a Cabbage.

On the first plant to be cropped there was one "blown" sprout, which I left behind when I took the main crop. It now looks like a little Cabbage in its own right, and I shall pick it and use it when I use the Top.

The Brokali plant whose main head I cut two days ago is already showing signs of producing a good set of side-shoots:

I'll be using the leaves as well as the spears of this Brokali. I'm sure they will be just as good as any Cavolo Nero - and probably more tender too.

The "Rudolph" PSB which also gave up its main head a few days ago is now producing a fair few side-shoots:

I know that most people don't eat the leaves of PSB, but I don't see why not. The small ones look eminently suitable for using as general-purpose greens. I think maybe I'll try them...

I haven't grown any Cauliflowers, but while I'm on this present subject I just want to say that whenever we buy a Cauliflower I always like to eat the little leaves around the "curds", which often get discarded. Like the one pictured here in a photo from Jane's recent post about Egg and Cauliflower Cheese

When you come to think about it, many of us are guilty of throwing away perfectly useable food simply because we grow / buy vegetables solely for their main crop, and often overlook some of the secondary features of the plant, which are frequently just as good as (or better than?) the main part.


  1. Completely agree - what brought me the most pleasure this year were not the main broccoli heads, but the seemingly endless supply of side shoots.

  2. What kind of weather they strive?

    1. The Brassica family are very hardy and will survive even in a cold Winter - though this year it is unusually warm so far!

  3. Farm shop Cauliflowers sometimes come untrimmed and these large outer leaves are delicious cooked as greens (with the center leaf stalk removed!). It's also a good way to use up Caulis from the garden/allotment that fail to form a solid head. The thick stalks of cauliflowers and broccoli are also tasty when peeled, sliced thinly and stir fried.
    PSB leaves are really useful in the early spring hungry gap, and the plants carry on producing lovely tender leaves long after the best purple shoots have stopped forming (just keep removing any flower spikes & give it a bit of a feed).

    1. I certainly agree with what you say about Cauliflower and Broccoli stalks - a very under-rated delicacy!

  4. We are hoping to get to the plot tomorrow after quite an absence to see whether we have any veg to harvest - I am hoping for sprouts,

  5. I think we're spoilt these days, we eat just the parts of a plant we grow it for but I'm sure every part of a plant would have been used in years gone by. It really is time we went back to basics with things like this.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.