With broccoli, the optimal harvest time is quickly overlooked and it blooms. With closed flowers, Brassica oleracea var. italica has many uses in the kitchen and is a supplier of vitamins and minerals. When the broccoli blooms, it stays in the garden for a short time as bee food. But when the broccoli blooms, it doesn’t become inedible, it just doesn’t have as many uses. This article reveals to what extent it is still edible.
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Causes of Blossoms
Broccoli is the most common vegetable grown in home gardens. In the best case, you can harvest it several times before it has blossomed, because once the main rose has been removed, it sometimes develops small florets on the sides. The best time to harvest the florets is just before flowering. If the broccoli shoots, i.e. produces flowers, this can have different reasons:
- strong temperature fluctuations
- too early sowing
- little water
- late harvest
However, if you only intend to use the flower or perhaps want to get your own seeds from the broccoli, you can favor earlier flowering with dry periods.
Flowers are edible
If Brassica oleracea var. italica is in bloom, you don’t have to throw the plant on the compost right away. The flower is a valuable food source for bees and is non-toxic. You can eat them without any danger. However, there are some disadvantages with flowering broccoli that also limit its later use.
There are the following problems with flowering broccoli:
- Stems lignify
- no even shoots
- Bitter content increases
- broken florets are more likely to get dirty
- Insects hide in the flowers
Use flowering broccoli
Although the broccoli is still edible with the blossom, you can only use it to a limited extent or with a little more effort. Individual plucked flowers can be used as a spicy edible decoration, for example. The flowers are a flavorful side dish for salads or spreads.
If you want to harvest and process the flowers in larger quantities, you can fry them in a batter. It is important for the processing of the flower that it is properly prepared. To do this, proceed as follows:
- Rinse flowers on the plant well the evening before
- harvest the next day in the morning
- Place flowers on a white cloth or sheet of paper in the sun for 1-2 hours
- possibly shake out briefly before use
- Don’t wash flowers anymore
When processing the flowers, it is important that you give small beetles hiding in the flowers a chance to escape. They are most likely to do this if you place the bud sites on a white surface in the sun for some time. In addition, the flowers can be shaken to get the last insects out.
taste of the flowers
Like all cruciferous plants, broccoli also has a sharp aromatic note due to the mustard oil glycosides it contains. In addition, the flowers have a slight sweet note, especially if you harvest them at the right time.
However, you should not use too much of the stalk in combination with the flowers. When the flowers bloom, the leaves and stalk become bitter, which many find unpleasant and inedible.
Process all of the broccoli
Although the content of bitter substances in the leaves and stalk increases, you can process the rest of Brassica oleracea var. italica. However, when it blooms, it is a little more difficult to process. You should water the leaves and stalk for several hours. Change the water from time to time. As a result, some of the bitter substances pass into the water and the leaves or stalk are no longer so bitter.
You can then process the stalk and leaves further. The leaves can be steamed like cabbage as a side dish or used as part of vegetable casseroles. The stalk itself is no longer edible once it has become lignified. At this point, however, it can still be used to flavor soups. The stalk is cut into rough pieces and simply cooked with it.