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Romanesco Broccoli

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Romanesco Broccoli seeds

$5.00

Romanesco broccoli is in fact a cultivar of the cauliflower.

This Italian heirloom produces striking light green heads composed of numerous cone-shaped florets, each one growing in a logarithmic spiral.  The heads can be quite large, up to 5 pounds each.

Peter slices them like steaks. Drizzle in olive oil, salt and pepper and either roast or grill.

a handful of seeds per pack. from Peter’s garden

Availability: 16 in stock

Romanesco Broccoli.

Romanesco broccoli is in fact a cultivar of the cauliflower, not a broccoli. It is an edible flower bud of the species Brassica oleracea, which also includes regular broccoli and cauliflower. It is chartreuse in color, and has a form naturally approximating a fractal.

Looking like an elaborate work of art or alien from space, romanesco is an uncommon vegetable frequently available only at local Farmer’s Markets or to grow from seed. Also called romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower (even though it is neither one), this unusual cultivar of Brassica oleracea dates back to the 16th century. It is sometimes mistakenly called broccoflower, but that name really refers to green-colored cauliflower. This Italian heirloom that was once grown exclusively around Rome produces striking light green heads composed of numerous cone-shaped florets, each one growing in a logarithmic spiral. The pointed groups of buds are a cluster of branched meristems arising from a central stem in a spiral arrangement, creating a fractal pattern (a self-similar pattern). The heads can be quite large, up to 5 pounds each.

The strap-like leaves are a dark blue green typical of broccoli or cauliflower and the plants look very similar to those other vegetables when they are growing in the garden.
This cruciferous plant is as easy to grow as normal broccoli or cauliflower. Even though it is a cool season plant, it is best started indoors 4-6 weeks ahead of time and transplanted into the garden after the last frost.

Place the plants 18-24″ apart, in fertile, well-drained soil. Keep well watered and fertilize once or twice during the growing season. Romanesco plants are susceptible to the same insect and disease problems as other brassicas, so be on the lookout for cabbage caterpillars (imported cabbageworm (Pieris rapae), diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni). You can cover the plants with floating row cover to prevent the adults of those caterpillars from laying eggs on the leaves but this can be challenging once the plants get large. Other controls include regular sprays of Bt or chemical insecticides labeled for use on cole crops.

Heads should be ready to harvest 75-100 days after transplanting. Once they are ready the entire head can be cut off with a sharp knife or individual stalks can be removed. Once the head is cut it does not typically produce new side shoots. Choose dense heads without any discoloration. Harvested heads can be stored in plastic in the refrigerator for about a week.

You can prepare Romanesco just as you would cauliflower or even broccoli and can enjoy it raw or cooked. But the flavor is uniquely its own. When cooked, it has an earthy, nutty flavor. Eat it roasted, steamed, sautéed with garlic and olive oil, in a stir-fry, tossed with pasta, in a quiche, or a soup.

a handful of seeds per pack. from Peter’s garden

Availability: 16 in stock

Romanesco Broccoli

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