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Friday 2 March 2012

A tall purple tale ...

March marks the beginning of spring in my book. We've had a promising start, and here's hoping that the glinting sunshine and gentle breezes last us through until, gosh, November. Or at least long enough for a Sluttery BBQ or two, eh?

With the weekend fast approaching, I wanted to tell you a little story about a lovely wee plant that I simply adore - purple sprouting broccoli. Now, if you aren't a vegetable know-it-all (and, let's face it, there's always enough gin in the world to ensure none of us become experts in all-things vegetation, right?), then you, like I, may have thought that purple sprouting broccoli was something of a new phenomena.

In recent years these dark florets with their crisp leaves have become commonplace on the supermarket shelves, protruded with gusto from the overflowing wire shelves of the local greengrocers and appeared enthusiastically on many a dinner party plate. However, as it turns out, purple sprouting broccoli has been around for centuries. Since Roman times, it would seem. Who knew?

The Romans apparently liked the sweet, tender florets and found these little super-foods to be just perfect as an after-spa snack or as something to nibble when parading about in metal skirts with brooms on their heads. And rightly so. Not only is purple sprouting broccoli rather nom-tastic, it's jolly good for you to boot.

Containing both vitamin C and vitamin A in abundance, as well as a decent dose of folic acid (great for baby-making), iron and other goodies that supposedly protect you against such nasties as diabetes, osteoporosis, heat disease and even cancer. Not bad for a little purple vegetable.

So, now you've joined the ranks of the pro-sprout movement, whatcha gonna do about it?

May I recommend simmering in a little salted water, just for about five minutes, then drizzling with olive oil, tossing in lemon jiuce and served alongside seabass and salsa verde?

Or, steam for four minutes, toss in butter and serve covered in black pepper with some simple linguini?

Finally, you can always serve your new sprouty friend raw, chopped and tossed in a light dressing with some hearts of romaine, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and clementine segments.


  1. If you are a fan of the purple you should also try White Sprouting Broccoli, slightly sweeter and more tender than the purple but no where near as well known x

    1. white broccol?! that has totally just blown my mind

  2. WOW - I gotta get me some of that!


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