Over the years I have tried all kinds of broccoli and always go back to the good ole' stand-by Waltham 29. There are several Hybrids that are fairly platable and prolific. Packman and Green Comet. Taste is my criteria for growing veges and Waltham is my favorite. Calabrese is prolific and hardy but it tastes awful ( that's just my opinion).
"Mom, you spoiled us with your home-grown broccoli, I can"t gag that store bought stuff down," said my oldest daughter after she had left home for college.
We love broccoli at our house, that is all except my youngest son, but thats o.k. with his older brother it just means more for him.
To get a good crop of broccol start seeds indoors 8 weeks before your last frost date. I like to use rolled newspaper cups. Broccoli does not like it's roots disturbed and planting the newspaper cup directly into the ground gives the broccoli the ability to start growing without going into transplant shock. Plant broccoli outside about 2-3 weeks before your last frost date. If the frosts are hard cover the broccoli at night. Keep evenly moist. The flavor is compromised if you allow it to dry out. I mulch with old hay. As soon as the weather turns hot the broccoli will become bitter.
To harvest broccoli cut the stem off at a 45 degree angle, this allows the water to run off the stem so it won't rot. Harvest when the florets are small and tightly closed. I have learned you must bag and refridgerate the heads immediately or it will yellow and the flowers will open and it tastes , can I use the word awful again? Continue to harvest the small side shoots and the LEAVES. The leaves are often over looked. Use them sauted, steamed, or in the green drink. I have wondered about making them into chipps.......Humm, I'll try this and let you know.
For a fall crop of broccoli plant seeds directly into the ground mid July thru Sept depending on your first frost date. To calculate the best planting date check the variety package of how many days it takes to mature and count back that many days . This should give you an exact date of when to plant. Remember to keep well watered. A fall crop is better because they don't turn bitter, a light frost makes them even a little sweeter.
I will publish some of our tried and favorite recipes with each vegetable I write about. So I asked the kids what their favorite broccoli recipes were.
-----"Broccoli?" and pulled a face of disgust..I guess I like it best in soup, I just don't eat broccoli, but you can ask me about other vegetables.
-----"Broccoli Casserole can we have that this week?"
----- ' I like your broccoli right out of the garden. If it's from the store I need dip".
My interest was piqued by my youngest's remark. "What is your favorite vegetable I asked my other son. His responce "Cucumbers". That I can attest to, I have had to make a rule with him, that he can only have 5 cucumbers a day. He was a little objectional about that because he was eating close to 20 daily. I thought 5 was a fair amount, besides I needed some left to take to market. He continued, " Cucumber is one of them, broccoli, lettuce, and tomatoes. I must say however, my favorite vegetable is a PICKLE. I love pickles."
"What it your favorite vegetable?" I asked my youngest. "Cucumber or tomatoe or carrot or avocado, is that a vegetable? I just don't like them cooked. Olives, are they considered a vegetable? Lettuce, I love lettuce." He replied.
CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP
Cook 1 lb. of bacon cut into small pieces. In a large pot boil 2c. cut carrots, 3c. potato chunks and 1-2 lbs. of broccoli pieces. In a saute pan melt 3 tbs. butter and add 1/4c. to 1/2c. flour. Make a rue. Add 1/2 gallon milk and heat until thickened, stirring constantlly. In the bacon grease saute 3-5 cloves of minced garlic, 1c. chopped onion and 1c. chopped celery. Pour water off vegetable and save. Put milk , bacon, sauted garlic, onion and celery into the pot. Add 1-2c. grated cheese of choice. Salt and pepper to taste. If the soup needs more liquid pour in the reserved vegetable water. Heat through. I actually like this soup better the next day.
1c. chopped steamed broccoli
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1/2C.. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites, whipped until stiff
1&1/2 qt. souffle baking dish
Sprinkle 1/4 c. of cheese in bottom of dish. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and cook until golden. Add milk cooking until thick. Stir. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper, worcestershire sauce, egg yolks one at a time. Stir in cooked broccoli. Gently fold in whipped egg whites. Pour into souffle' dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 350 30-35 mins.
NOTE; I HAVE USED FINELY CHOPPED FRESH SPINACH FOR THIS SOUFFLE' INSTEAD OF THE BROCCOLI.ALSO TRY INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS IN SMALL RAMIKINS. yummmmmmmm.