The broccoli should be harvested about 2 months after planting, when the main head is green and reaches a size of 3 to 4 inches. Do not wait for the green to lighten, a sign that the flower buds are in the process of blossoming.
The plant can be left in the ground after having harvested the largest head: it will surely produce other side shoots which are smaller, but still worth harvesting.
Once the broccoli has been harvested, all that remains is to decompact the soil and cook it!
How to decompact soil with a spade fork
This tool, also known as a fork and spade, is very common in permaculture, an agriculture that respects the environment and human labor. The spade fork is composed of 4 curved tines (there are also models with 3 or 5 tines), attached to two long handles.
Loosen the soil without turning it upside down
The spade fork loosens the soil to a depth of 20 cm while respecting the life of the soil, as the micro-organisms are not displaced. In addition, it does not cause back pain because the back remains straight. The tines of the spade fork dig into the soil and the two arms act as a lever. Thanks to the length of the handles, the efforts are multiplied. The fork lifts the soil to aerate it, not to turn it over.
Uprooting without cutting
The spade fork makes it easier to pull up crops that remain in the ground for a long time, such as garlic, or those that produce large roots. The latter are removed by picking them up at their base, crumbling the soil, making it more crumbly. In this way, plants can be uprooted without too much effort.
When growing beds are covered with grass, plants with large roots such as wild dock should be removed. The spade fork can remove it by passing it under the roots. By pulling the weed with the tool, the soil is loosened around the root, which loses its hold.
Using the spade fork
Push in the spade fork
Press one foot on the base to push the tines of the spade fork vertically into the ground.
Pull both sleeves back without trying to pull out a clod, but just to let the teeth decompact the soil deeply.
Gently reassemble the tool by rocking it back and forth and right and left.
Then push the spade fork 8 inches back, repeat the operation and so on to the end of the bed, then start a second line. Its width is wider than a spade and will quickly shorten the job. Finally, simply pull the tool over the surface of the ground to even it out and make it more refined.
How to cook broccoli
Easy to prepare, broccoli is also quick to cook. It is also preferable to limit the cooking time to preserve the crispness of the vegetable:
- 5 min steaming, for crispy broccoli ;
- 7 to 10 min in boiling salted water, for a melting texture;
- 6 to 8 minutes in the microwave, for those in a hurry.
Weddings and assortments
Broccoli is easy to combine with many flavors and can be cooked in many different ways. Here are a few gourmet suggestions:
- a few golden broccoli florets in oil, served with golden sesame seeds and lemongrass marinated chicken skewers ;
- a beautiful risotto flavoured with candied lemon, served with grilled or papillote-cooked fish or a green risotto mixing broccoli with desasperges, beans, peas and green peas, flavoured with olive oil and a lemon fillet ;
- in a salad seasoned with lemon and olive oil, served with smoked fish (haddock) ;
- a soft and velvety soup, served with a touch of cream and grilled croutons spread with gruyère cream;
- small bouquets of broccoli mixed with a plate of pasta with toasted slivered almonds and parmesan cheese.
- Raw, the broccoli will be prepared in small bouquets and eaten “à la croque” with a homemade sauce (yoghurt/roquefort, cottage cheese/lemon zest or chopped ginger, cream/mustard, etc.) or finely grated and sprinkled in a salad or over pasta for a crunchy note.
- You can also slice the bouquets very finely, like a carpaccio, with their stem, and marinate them with lemon juice, chopped fresh ginger and garlic, salt and olive oil.
To conclude, once the broccoli has been harvested, all you have to do is decompact the soil for the next harvest, and then go to the kitchen. In this article, we explain how to decompact your soil with a spade fork and we give you cooking tips for broccoli.