Yesterday I decided that my broccoli was about ready to harvest. Actually, some of it was a little bit past ready, but it still tasted good. Homegrown always does for some reason! As we live in a rented house and the flower beds are rubbish (about 6 inches of soil over hardcore) I have been growing things in tubs round the back of the house. It seems to keep them safe from rabbits, too! This was my first time trying broccoli, but as you can see, they seemed to do really well in tubs.
The only problem was there wasn’t much in the way of actual florets, it seemed to be all leaves. Not sure why this is, I’ll do some research and try again next year. If you’re keen on gardening or want extra information, have a look at this blog http://www.nwedible.com/2012/09/harvest-broccoli-cauliflower.html.
I picked what was ready and left it to soak in salt water (1 part salt, 5 parts water) for about 20 minutes to kill off any nasties. Amazingly enough, there weren’t any!
While that was soaking, I checked out my peas…
And then went and thinned out my rhubarb a little. I plan to make jam soon, so I just picked some of the smaller, weaker stalks and left the rest.
Now that the broccoli has soaked, I was ready to blanch it. I kept out the stuff that was near to flowering to eat that night, and just blanched the small, tight florets. I rinsed them well to get rid of the salt and bugs, and got out a large pan, filled it with hot water and waited for it to reach boiling point. While that was heating, I filled a bowl with cold water and ice cubes to cool the broccoli down after boiling. When the hot water was ready, I put the broccoli into my chip pan basket, and slowly lowered it into the boiling water. As they were small florets, I left them for 3 minutes. When the time was up, I dunked broccoli, basket and all into the cold water for another 3 minutes, then tipped it out onto a clean tea-towel to drain. When they were a little less wet, I put the florets on a baking tray and into the freezer for a couple of hours so they would freeze without ending up in a big, solid, icy mass like a giant broccoli-flavoured ice pop. Once they were frozen, I put them in a dated, labeled freezer bag and back into the freezer.
I have to say I was kinda disappointed that I was finished already, I was wishing I had some more stuff to blanch!!
While all that was draining and freezing etc, I washed and chopped my rhubarb with the intention of making some kind of pudding, but I wasn’t too sure what. After rooting around a bit in the kitchen, I came up with an orange, and thought it would make a nice combination. It did :)
Rhubarb and Orange Crumble
a handful of rhubarb stalks, (8 oz?) chopped into 1 inch lengths
3 – 4 tbsp sugar
Peel and chop the orange into chunks, removing pips as you go. I did mine on a plastic chopping board so I didn’t loose any of the juice. Put it in a saucepan along with the rhubarb and sugar, and cook on medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften. Transfer it into a oven-proof dish. Usually when I make crumble I just dump stuff into a bowl until it looks about right, but for your benefit, I measured it this time.
4 oz oats
3 oz sugar
2 oz margerine
Mix it all together, you’re best just getting stuck in and using your hands here. Spread it over the fruit mixture and bake at 180°C for 20 – 30 minutes. Serve with custard or ice cream!