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Friday, April 25, 2014

More normal than you think

Guess this vegetable
I posted this question up on Twitter a while back. I posted this photograph, and asked people to name the vegetable. This was obviously a trick question - most named green beans or something similar, but it's obviously not. It's not even a legume.

While the concept of eating "nose to tail" on an animal is pretty trendy among restaurants, fewer consider eating root to fruit on plants. Or in this case, this is a vegetable that many Americans treat as common, when in fact, they eat only the most rarified part of the plant.

It's broccoli.

Although just about the whole plant is edible (the leaves make delicious braised greens), most people are restricted to considering at the florets, the unopened flowers of the plant. I've seen people trim off the florets, and discard the rest of the stem — all the while bemoaning how expensive vegetables are.

In time, the florets open up into pretty yellow flowers. The flowers, of course, are just as edible. But also, like any flowers, they are the reproductive parts of the plants, and can be visited by pollinators.

And after pollination, voila! The broccoli fruit:

The bowl above, of course, is the product of harvesting the pods (which are usually reserved primarily for the seeds), but it makes for an interesting vegetable, if it a little stringy.

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