Broccoli : Romanesco Italia
Prized by gourmet chefs, this Italian heirloom bursts with flavor
The true and popular Italian heirloom with fractal-like spiraling, apple-green heads that are so superbly flavored. This variety is widely grown in northern Italy. A must with many of the finest chefs. Grows exceptionally well in cool northern areas. This is not only tasty but also highly nutritious. Romans have been growing Romanesco since the 15th century. Romanesco has a cauliflower texture and a subtle broccoli flavor. Broccoli Romanesco grows best in temperate climates over the cooler months.Brassicaceae Brassica
When: Romanesco is edible roughly 4 months after planting, when the florets are distinctly shaped.
When and How
When: The perfect time to harvest Broccoli is when the individual flower buds are visible and somewhat swollen. If you harvest earlier than this it will still taste good, but you won't get as big a harvest. As the head gets over-mature, the individual florets start to separate and the yellow petals become visible. Broccoli is edible after the florets have separated and even when some of the flowers have opened, but it’s not as good.
If you miss the optimal harvest time you should still cut off the heads, as this will stimulate the plants to produce new side shoots
If a severe frost threatens, you should harvest any remaining heads and eat or freeze them.
How: Cut the head off with a sharp knife. The standard for commercial harvesting is to leave about 5˝ of stem on the head, as they want the extra weight. However if you leave more stem on the plant, you may get more useful side shoots.
Cut and Come Again
Side shoots: After the main head is cut, the plants will send out side shoots. On large healthy plants these can be 5˝ in diameter, so don’t remove the plants after harvesting the first heads. After you cut the side shoots, the plant will send out yet more shoots and may continue to do this for several weeks (it really wants to flower and set seed). Keep cutting the side shoots until they get too small to bother with.
In warm weather the plants may produce side shoots every few days, so keep on top of harvesting. These side shoots greatly increase the size and duration of the harvest and make Broccoli a much more productive crop. After the side shoots are finished, you might try cutting the plant right back, almost to the ground. This sometimes stimulates it to send up a new stem.
The flower heads are rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, potassium and folate. It is considered one of the very best anti-cancer vegetables, as it contains a whole range of beneficial phytochemicals, glucosinolates, luteine sulfuraphane and isothiocyanin.
All of the cruciferous vegetables are very good for improving and maintaining liver health.