So last year Good King Henry had me excited. But this year, on top of having GKH, I have Turkish Rocket (Bunias orientale)!
From my reading, I was definitely hopeful it would be the end-all broccoli. But from my experience I was definitely worried. I kept nibbling leaves finding them far too bitter to call palatable.
Even much earlier this spring when the leaves were just emerging I nibbled a few and still found them unpalatable. So I was a little nervous when my masses of leaves, living up to their name, shot out flower buds overnight.
I decided next day I would harvest them to ensure they were at their peak, but next day some of them had grown a whole inch! Not all, but a few plants in particular seem to be very fast growers. Choosing only the sizable buds, I got a very generous handful off of six plants, with more on the way. Several of the plants weren’t even ready yet, and a few look like they’ll procrastinate another year. With buds in hand I went to the house to see what a light steaming would give me.
Interested in the unadulterated flavor I just steamed and rinsed with cold water rather than trying to dilute or mask the flavor to begin with. Plunging into the simmering water they surprised me with an aroma that made me think of Alan over at Of Plums and Pignuts description of the flower buds being a “slightly shellfish-like flavour;” although I’d say it was like eggs –a pleasant smell though. Perhaps egg-like due to a high sulfer content?
With a scent like this I was again hopeful, and on tasting them I found the egg-like flavor was very substantial and satisfying, the bitterness of the leaves only twinging in the background. I liked it.
In fact, I’d say it’s better than GKH, and can definitely see it tasting great in mixed greens, or with some flavoring. Raw, it’s a spicy broccoli.
So there is a better broccoli out there –although it takes stratification, transplanting, weeding, and a whole year to get to it; perhaps a little more work than your average broccoli.
The real bonus to these two ‘better broccolis’ is they have deep taproots, letting them care for themselves in drought and weeds alike, and once established can potentially keep fruiting for a decade, and then only need dividing to start a fresh plant that will begin producing the very next year.
Such is the pretty picture that’s been drawn for me. We’ll see if it pans out that way. For now, I’m enjoying some very gourmet broccoli. Check out my seed sources page for GKH and TR sources.
Note: Yes, next post should be about the obvious Sea Kale flowers (Crambe maritima). I’ve had two plants that have kept coming back for three years now, but they have yet to flower. I will definitely post a review as soon as I get a harvest though. They’ve got to put up flowers eventually!