Don’t miss these fall veggies
“What IS that?” asked a skeptical shopper at the West Chester Growers Market, pointing to a spiky, lime-green cruciferous veggie.
“Romanesco,” the smiling vendor replied. Then he explained more and made the sale.
Like broccoli and cauliflower, it’s part of the brassica family.
“People are crazy about brassicas right now, and so am I,” said Emma Cunniff of Kneehigh Farm, a CSA (community-supported agriculture) and farmstand in Pottstown. “I think brassicas are underappreciated because they’re usually cooked in a way that isn’t appetizing.”
Think limp broccoli, and you get the idea. Done right, brassicas have a “sweet, spicy, umami flavor,” she described. Plus, they’re fiberrich, nutrient- dense and “super-hardy.”
“They’re not as scary as they seem. You can incorporate them into a lot of the meals you’re already making,” agreed Frank Kurylo of Kimberton CSA, who also sells at the Lansdale Farmers’ Market. “If you’re trying to explore new foods and new brassicas, CSAs and farmers’ markets are great places to go because you’ll find varieties you won’t get in the supermarket.” Ever tasted kohlrabi? “It’s a lot sweeter than you’d think,” he added. “You can treat it like you would a cabbage and get a little sweeter outcome.”
Cabbage is another brassica. So are kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, turnips and rutabagas.
“Brassicas are usually a lot yummier if you’re eating locally in the fall, so this is the time to dig in!” Cunniff said.
Try this simple, flavorful combination of broccoli, cherry tomatoes, bacon and Parmesan.
Freshly picked cabbage fills a market bin.
Romanesco has “kind of a nutty flavor almost,” says Frank Kurylo of Kimberton CSA.
Find kohlrabi now at area farmers’ markets.