Let’s be honest: lots of people don’t like broccoli.
It happens to be one of my favorite vegetables, and I attempt to grow it every year (though often the cabbage moths destroy the plants before they bear anything worth harvesting).
But I’m also pretty fussy: I don’t like the thick, woody stalks, only the florets. I’ve seen a hybrid called broccolini, which grows long, tender stalks, and that seemed like a smart thing to grow instead, but I learned that seeds for it are not for sale—it is tightly controlled by the patent holder.
(Beware of a seed company on Amazon that claims to sell broccolini seed; it’s an allegedly “similar” hybrid but not the real thing.)
All my research on this led me to another hybrid, called brokali (half kale, half broccoli). The description sounded similar to broccolini, so I ordered some seeds.
Last night we harvested and ate the first of this spring’s crop, and Holy Moly!!! It is unbelievably delicious. It is the best tasting broccoli I’ve ever had. Serious. No hyberbole.*
If you like broccoli, you gotta try it. If you DON’T like broccoli, you oughta try it.
In fairness: the stalks are not as tall and slender as broccolini, they look more like regular broccoli, only much smaller heads. If you wait for the heads to get regular-sized, the florets will turn yellow and then not be real tasty…. In other words, I still get more of the broccoli that I didn’t want, and even less of the part I do want. But: both parts are way more delicious than any other broccoli I’ve ever had, and the stalks are less woody and more tender.
To my knowledge, I don’t like kale. Which isn’t fair, because to my knowledge I’ve never tried kale. But if kale makes broccoli taste this good, I gotta put it into this Fall’s garden. To be specific, though, brokali is a cross between Calabrese broccoli and a kind of Chinese kale called gai lan; therefore gai lan is what I’ll be planting and calling kale.
The class I took last year on vegetable gardening described kale as an edible ornamental—meaning you can plant it in flower beds to look pretty, yet harvest and eat the leaves on an on-going basis.
Also for the record: I bought the Apollo F1 Brokali variety from Osborne Seed, and given the results, that’s all I’ll buy going forward. http://www.osborneseed.com/product-details.cfm?brokali–apollo-f1