Links - to information on Cabbages General & History Most cabbages have small clusters of flowers on tall spindly or fleshy stems, but plant breeders, starting in Roman times, have coaxed some into producing huge densely packed flower heads which are highly edible when immature.[Broccoli; Brócolis americano (Brazil); Xi Nan Hua Cai (China, lit.It continued to be developed by growers to produce the large flower heads we know today.These heads are harvested and eaten well before maturity because they will open into yellow flowers and become mushy and bitter.Like other cabbages, broccoli is high in fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants and is suspected of significant anticancer benefits.[B. Brassica oleracea Group Italica] This leafy, small headed variety is probably similar to those known in Roman times.These were purchased from a specialty grower in Southern California who does a lot of business in greens.It was produced by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan, under the name "Aspabroc".It can easily be told from other thin stemmed varieties by it's almost total lack of leaves.(Update) One of my usual multi-ethnic markets has started selling this as "Brocolini" at a more reasonable 2014 US $1.33 per pound.In appearance similar to Broccoflower, this is an artificial, genetically engineered cross between sexually incompatible Cauliflower and Broccoli.[Brassica oleracea Group Botrytis] This cabbage grows a huge cluster of flower buds that never mature.Called the "curd", this cluster may be white, lime green or orange depending on variety and how it's grown.While cauliflower curd is sterile and will never produce seeds, a plant left to grow after the big flower head is cut will eventually develop side branches with viable flowers and seeds, which is how cauliflower is propagated.Selective breeding during Medieval and Renaissance times developed the heavy, pure white curd cauliflower we enjoy today.[Brassica oleracea Group Italica] It looks like a cauliflower but the ISHS says it's a broccoli (see under Romanesco).Although first reported from Italy in the 16th century, acceptance of this variety has been held back by a fierce dispute as to whether it is a broccoli or a cauliflower - but now the ISHS (International Society for Horticultural Science) has declared from extensive analysis that it is Cauliflower. .

That's Not Trash, That's Dinner

She particularly relishes the strange shoots that emerge when a garden has bolted from too much heat: cilantro flowers, broccoli seed pods and tough lettuces that cry out for creamy, rich dressings and bacon-fat vinaigrettes.Last summer he harvested a crop of green strawberries, curing them in salt and sugar so he could serve them as dessert with soft drifts of whipped cream, cucumbers and marshmallow. .

Kale, Kalette or other brassicas seed pods

I tasted one and the flavor in my opinion is better than the leafy green part. .

An Introduction to the Mustard/Cabbage/Brassica Family for

Foragers don’t need to be fully fledged botanists, but a practical, working understanding of the key characteristics of plant families can be very useful.If you can learn to recognise the shared characteristics of a family group, precise identification for the wild kitchen becomes much easier.Understanding shared features such as leaf shape and flower structure not only narrows down potential ID’s, but helps you know when to be particularly alert to toxic look-alikes.Everyone will be familiar with cultivated brassicas such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips, rocket and broccoli, but as these have been selectively bred for over 10 000 years, many now bear only a passing resemblance to their wild prototypes.Foragers who know their wild brassicas can enjoy a wide range punchy cresses, some large fleshy succulent leaves, tasty flowers, potent seeds and even a few carb-heavy roots, throughout the year.It is an unfortunate fact of foraging that many plants are past their best for eating by the time all of their identifiable parts have appeared.Thus, the chronology of identifiable parts goes: shoots, basal leaves, buds, flowers, seeds, skeleton (of previous year’s growth).Unlike their flowers, leaves of wild brassicas do not follow one set pattern, but some general characteristics can be discerned.Thus, field edges (where “weeds” often take advantage of agricultural fertilisers, and may be polluted with pesticides) can be excellent hunting grounds for mindful foragers.Succulence in coastal plants is an evolutionary response to salt air and exposure and I believe this is often overlooked as one of many reasons why our hunter-gatherer ancestors settled along the coast.They would have had their pick of some choice brassicas, quickly learning to steward the most rewarding crops and developing very early agricultural practices to encourage favourable characteristics.Species Focus: Wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli…they all started here… These solid plants with woody stems, large, succulent dull green leaves and bright yellow flowers make their living on alakaline coastal cliffs and beaches.Never use taste to help identify anything that exudes a white sap (unless it’s clearly some sort of dandelion or lettuce) – it could well be a spurge (euphorbia species), which will burn your mouth and possibly your skin too.I’m not in any way recommending you try this, but I have seen mycologists knowingly taste death cap mushrooms (amanita phalloides) with no ill effect.Tear a tiny piece (less half a square cm) of healthy leaf off the plant and place it on the tip of your tongue.If that seems fine, lightly chew the piece of plant with your front teeth and return it to the tip of your tongue, repeating the previous step.Harvested when in prime condition in October/November, it will have you crying like a baby when you try to grate it to make that English classic, horseradish sauce.In my obsession to find it in SW Scotland, I’ve done many an emergency stop for large dock leaves.The similarity is superficial and you can distinguish horseradish by its large (70 – 100cm) upright, broad, bright green leaves with a crinkled look and “fish-bone” pattern of veins.A great deal of money and chemicals goes into eradicating some wild brassica “weeds” that taste considerably better than the crop that is being protected.On a smaller scale, a little brassica “weed” called hairy bittercress (cardamine hirsuita) is often the gastronomic star of my guided foraging walks.These and other medicinally useful compounds in brassicas, such as carotenoids and indoles, have been found to have potent antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer activity.Some brassicas are relatively high in bitter compounds, which accounts for some of the scrunched faces that brussels sprouts can create!For an extensive discussion of the variation in bitter receptors in humans, see the beginning of my post on making vermouth from wild plants.With a little regular investment of time and observation, patterns and smells I’ve tried to describe here in words, will become obvious. .

When to Pick Seed Pods Off a Collard Plant?

If you leave the pods on the plant too long, on the other hand, birds may swoop down and steal them or they may crack open, dropping the seeds to the soil. .

T K A W

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