Don’t despair if your broccoli crop is starting to go to seed, homesteading guru Renee Wilkinson has some great advice on preserving what you can of the flavorful vegetable and collecting the seeds for next year’s planting.
Late summer has produced broccoli plants with thick stalks ready for harvest. As hard as we try, there is far too much for us to stay on top of. It’s time to think about saving seed for next year and preserving the harvest for the winter months.
Broccoli produces lovely yellow flowers that will develop into seeds. When broccoli flowers just begin to appear, you can still eat them. But if too many flowers open, the stalks become tough and too chewy to eat. I like to save seed from the most productive plant for next year’s garden. I choose the biggest broccoli plant and allow the cluster to flower and develop seed.
Do this every season for years and you will end up with your own special seed strain. (With winter crops, like spinach, save the seed from the hardiest plants and you end up with special strains that are more resilient to withstand cold weather!) As an added bonus, the bees will enjoy stocking up on pollen from the vegetables while they flower.
Freezing the rest of our broccoli harvest is a simple, easy way to preserve the bounty for the cold months when our homestead is not as productive. You can’t simply throw broccoli in the freezer though. Instead, it needs to be blanched to “set” the color and flavor. Blanching is an extra step, but a relatively easy one.
This article originally appeared on HipChickDigs.com. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.
Photo Credit: Renee Wilkinson
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