Love Local Food
I just love buying, cooking and eating local food. I used to buy purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) grown just 3 miles from where I lived in Devon at Shillingford Organics and it was freshly picked on the day I get it. No wonder it tasted so good!
Now I live in Scotland I use the Neighbourhood Food hub scheme which do vegetable boxes and many other locally produce foods
Most people find that once they start buying locally grown, organic vegetables they use it alongside supermarket vegetables. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And some vegetables purchased in local green grocers or delivery schemes can be so much cheaper in the supermarket.
This beautiful vegetable is available from February to April and there are so many ways to cook it
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB) is in season from February through to the end of April and is delicious and easy to cook. Full of good vitamins and iron it is very nutritious. Low cost and easy to find in Farmers market and local vegetable suppliers, it can be sometimes hard to find in the supermarkets. In spring time it can be really abundant and it is so tasty!
Use it whenever you might have used the green calabrese broccoli, especially when calabrese is not in season. If you eat calabrese in Spring, it has probably been flown in from Spain.
Purple sprouting has been cultivated since Roman times but it has only regained popularity in the UK in the last 30 years or so. Buy it fresh when a deep purple colour. You eat the leaves and stalk as well, only discarding any really thick or woody stems. Eat as an accompanying vegetable to any main dish. Purple sprouting can simply be steamed or boiled. It can also be roasted. Below are some ideas on how to prepare it as a vegetable, or as part of a main meal dish.
PSB is a great example of a vegetable that you can add to any dish you fancy really, whether pasta dishes, risotto, noodles or stir fry. It cooks quickly and has plenty of flavour. Sprinkle cheese on it or serve it in a sauce. It can be eaten raw too, perhaps with a dip. If you are tempted to grow it yourself try this website
There are surprisingly few mentions of PSB in the cookery books that I have. I presume the reason for this is its general absence in the supermarket. It can hardly be its seasonality since asparagus that has a far shorter season is very prevalent in the chefs’ tomes.
Delia has a recipe in Delia’s Vegetarian Collection of ‘Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Chilli, Lime and Sesame Dressing’. This is a simple sauce made from a chopped chilli, one dessert spoon each of lime juice, sesame oil and soy sauce and a teaspoon of sesame seeds. Sounds rather nice!
Boiled or Steamed PSB
Simply prepare your PSB by cutting slicing any thicker stems. The leaves are edible – only remove any tougher or wilting ones. Give them a rinse.
Steam or boil in a little water for 5-7 minutes until tender.
Fried Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Melt a knob of butter and fry the PSB gently until tender – about 6 minutes
Chop into large pieces and place in a baking dish. Pour over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to coat. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked.
Suggestions For Easy Meals With Purple Sprouting
Cook some pasta (70-100g) per person. Saute or roast some PSB (50g-70g per person). Sprinkle with Parmesan and/or stir in some creme fraiche
Leeks and kale are in season at the same time, so chop some up and add them in with the PSB too.
Diane Young – Love it just plain boiled
Linda Corbett-Mann – Serve with a hollandaise sauce
Diane Moore – Steam with a drizzle of lemon juice
Amanda Josephine – Add to risotto consisting of quorn, parmesan and mushrooms
Joey Lee – Pad Thai using leeks, PSB, mushrooms & cabbage on bed of noodles using a Thai fish paste and, eggs and soy sauce
Love Your Greens – Cooks it with pasta, pine nuts, chilli and lemon – here’s how
How do you cook yours? Please share by commenting below and help celebrate this wonderful vegetable.