Agriculture Seasonal Recipes

November 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

Putting Up Your Fall Harvest: Broccoli and Cauliflower

This series is for farmers, gardeners, or anyone overloaded with produce. Written by Monica Johnson, a woman who farmed her way from Brooklyn, NY to her current home in Deep East Texas, “Putting Up Your Harvest” is full of tips and tricks to keep your food waste down and your culinary enjoyment lasting throughout the colder seasons. Enjoy these clever ways to preserve your fruitful harvest.

Credit: Horia Varlan

Credit: Horia Varlan

Broccoli and Cauliflower are part of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Brassicas contain vitamin C, fiber, lutein (antioxidant) and folate (B vitamin). Though they’re often cooked to mellow out their strong flavor, keep in mind that boiling them diminishes some of their nutrients. Instead, try steaming or stir-frying them.

Brassicas grow best in cool weather, so I planted about eight of each in September. I could have planted earlier, but should have had a decent harvest. However, much like my radishes, they did not get enough sun to produce the flowers (broccoli) or heads (cauliflower). As the first freeze approaches, I realize I may have to admit defeat. Oh well, there’s always next year!

Hopefully, you are in the midst of a productive harvest and here are a few ways to spread out your bounty.

1. Freeze. This is the simplest way to enjoy year-round. Clean-blanch-drain-freeze. Thaw to use in anything from soups to casseroles to omelets.

2. Dry/Dehydrate. Another great way to enjoy year-round especially if you have little storage space.

3. Spread it out. Make a dip or pesto. This is a great way to use the stalks, especially if you don’t normally eat them. Freeze the pesto/dip and pull out for future use.

4. Soup and freeze. I often make a big pot of soup, eat it for a few days then freeze it. Use your brassicas as a part of a multi-vegetable soup or as the main ingredient.

5. Make a casserole or quiche. This is s similar idea to #4. Make your big dish and after you have enjoyed it for a few days, freeze the leftovers for a later date.

6. Make pizza crust. This is cauliflower-specific. Make several batches of pizza crust and then freeze the dough like you would flour dough for up to a month.

-Monica Johnson