Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:33 pm
In 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 broccoli blooms, it remains in the garden for a short time as bee forage. But with the flowering broccoli does not become inedible, but only not so versatile. To what extent it is still edible, reveals this article.
Causes of flowers
Broccoli is the most common vegetable grown in home gardens. At best, you can harvest it several times in the unflowered state, because once the main rose is removed, it sometimes forms small florets on the sides. The optimal time to harvest the florets is just before flowering. Shoots broccoli, that is, brings forth flowers, this may have different reasons:
- strong temperature fluctuations
- sowing too early
- little water
- too late harvest
However, if you intend to use only the flower or perhaps want to obtain your own seed from broccoli, you can favor earlier flowering with periods of drought, for example.
Flowers are edible
If Brassica oleracea var. italica is in flower, you do not have to throw the plant on the compost immediately. The flower is a valuable food source for bees and is not poisonous. You can eat them without danger. However, there are some disadvantages with flowering broccoli that also limit it in later use.
The following problems exist with flowering broccoli:
- stems become woody
- no uniform shoots
- bitter content increases
- decayed florets tend to pollute
- insects hide in the flowers
Note: If you cut off the inflorescences, the broccoli may once again form smaller florets as side shoots, which you can harvest in their unflowered state
Use flowering broccoli
Although the broccoli with the flower is still edible, you can use it only limited or with a little more effort. Individual plucked flowers can be used, for example, as a spicy edible decoration. The blossoms are a spicy garnish for salads or spreads, for example.
If you want to harvest and process the blossoms in larger quantities, you can fry them in a batter. It is important for the processing of the blossom that it is properly prepared. To do this, proceed as follows:
- the evening before well rinse blossoms on the plant.
- harvest the next day in the morning
- place the blossoms on a white cloth or sheet of paper in the sun for 1 – 2 hours
- if necessary, shake them out again briefly before use
- Do not wash the blossoms again
When processing the blossoms, it is important that you give small bugs hiding in the blossoms a chance to escape. They are most likely to do this if you place the inflorescences on a white surface in the sun for some time. In addition, the flowers can be shaken to possibly get the last insects out.
Taste of the flowers
Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli has a pungent aromatic note due to the mustard oil glycosides it contains. In addition, the flowers still 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. With the flower, the leaves and stalk become bitter, which many find unpleasant and not edible.
Process all broccoli
Although the level of bitterness increases in the leaves and stalk, you can process the rest of Brassica oleracea var. italica. However, when it flowers, it takes a little more effort to process it. You should water the leaves and stalk for several hours. In between, keep changing the water. This way, some of the bitter substances will pass into the water and the leaves or stalk will no longer be so bitter.
You can then process the stalk and leaves. The leaves can be steamed as a side dish like cabbage or used as part of vegetable casseroles. The stalk itself is no longer edible once it has become woody. At this point, however, it can still be used to add flavor to soups. The stalk is cut into coarse pieces and simply cooked with it.
Tip: Leaves and stalk can be processed not only with the bloomed broccoli. This is also possible if you have harvested the florets in time