In this in-between season, when plants are doing their natural work of transformation from stalk to seed, budding, blooming, scattering seeds, and sprouting again, the recognizable parts of the vegetables that we’re accustomed to picking and eating are nowhere to be found.
Take broccoli, for instance. I’ve loved watching the garden winter-over this year, because it’s a beautiful plant to watch sprout, form massive heads, turn every shade of purple when the temperatures got colder, and then reach tall with spring’s approach and burst into bright yellow flower. Before observing this I’d only ever thought of a broccoli, as, well, a broccoli.
So this week, while we’re not-so-patiently waiting for the growing season to begin in earnest, I thought I’d share a few of the things I learned about eating lesser-used parts of a vegetable, especially those that you might only usually think to toss into the compost heap!
- The greens of most root vegetables are edible, in particular, beets, turnips, radishes, carrots (yes, carrots!) Some recipe ideas, here.
- Broccoli flowers! (Any flower that you can eat is a winner in my book.) They have a pleasant, mild flavor, and make a lovely addition to an early spring salad.
- Stalks of cauliflower, broccoli, or Brussels can be sauteed, steamed, or prepared in soup stock. (More suggestions here.)
Of course, one of our favorite spring stalks is asparagus. Sondra’s chilled asparagus soup with chervil cream is the perfect lunch for a warm afternoon, and could be infinitely adaptable to other spring stalks that you have in surplus.
Do you have tried and true recipes for using the whole plant from your garden? Leave us a note below!