Slowly we are making our way through the last standing leeks and winter brassicas, clearing the ground ready for this year’s planting.
With the cavalo nero stripped of its last leaves for the kitchen and composted, along with the Brussels sprouts stems that were left to provide greens after harvesting the sprouts in the winter, we are down to the red curly kale, a few savoy cabbages, and two large cauliflower plants. A week ago, these latter showed narrow pointed hearts, with no sign of a curd, and I harboured suspicions that we would not be harvesting any cauliflowers this year.
This weekend, however, both plants had filled out to reveal majestic white curds bursting from the leaves that a week ago were empty. I’m astounded by the speed with which these sizeable curds were produced! I think they must be the most beautiful cauliflowers we have grown yet, wonderfully crisp and unblemished.
As F1 hybrids, both Mystique cauliflower plants have reached maturity at the same time, so we shall be eating a lot of cauliflower in the next few weeks! We have already harvested one plant, lightly poaching a portion of the head and some of the inner leaves in water gently laced with vegetable bouillon and a bay leaf. After draining off the cooking liquid, the wilted leaves were served as spring greens, while the tender curds were mashed to make a light and fresh-tasting alternative to potatoes. We were too busy eating them to take their picture after cooking!
As we enjoy the final fruits of last year’s growing season, I must keep an eye on the weather and ensure that we harvest the remaining cauliflower before it is spoiled by rain – not to mention sowing the seeds for next spring’s table.