As predicted, the sudden switch to warmer weather has caused all kinds of plants to bolt around the kitchen garden. That’s meant we needed to process, cook and eat everything before it went to seed and became inedible.
The kale did amazingly well, but it’s now finished for the season after a week of very heavy cropping. The most tender inner leaves were served steamed with a Sunday roast, smaller heads were shredded and added to a stew (it goes very well in sausage casseroles, including ones made with veggie sausages), and the coarser outer leaves got turned into Chinese-restaurant-style crispy seaweed (very easy, great for a starter or on top of noodle soup).
Other gone-over brassicas included the all leaf beet (used as spinach with pasta), and the land cress (added to salad and noodle soup). In fact, the only one that hasn’t got its sprout on is, yes you’ve guessed it, the purple and white sprouting broccoli – it’s growing away quite merrily, throwing out lots and lots of tiny leaves, but no spears. The only consolation is that you can eat sprouting broccoli leaves like cabbage, so if we get stuck for things to eat in a week or two then that’s what’s going to happen.
No PSB? No problem!
We ate the Brussels sprout tops in March, but I left the plants standing because they still had a handful of tiny micro-Brussels towards the tops of their stems. I was hoping that they might somehow bulk up and give us a few last buttons, but instead they have gone straight to the blown and bolted stage. However, I’m not complaining: what you can see in the picture above is not spears of white sprouting broccoli, it’s the ‘sprouting Brussels sprouts’. They’re lovely and tender, have a sweet, nutty flavour, and we’re eating them in the place of the PSB.
The regenerative powers of the brassica family will never cease to amaze, and feed, me. We’ve also had plenty of pea shoots and broad bean shoots in salads, and the baby leaf lettuce sowed six weeks ago is finally ready to start picking. It’s good to have something fresh at long last, even the curled cress makes a difference. We’ve also been picking spring onions and soft herbs, and the last of the leeks.
The Arctic King winter lettuce is finally putting in an appearance too, although I’ve only used the thinnings so far, and I’ve used up one of the overwintered mustard greens plants in the aforementioned noodle soup. Not sure if there’s going to be much left to crop in May, but you never know…
How’s your kitchen garden feeding you this month? Are you having any luck?