Bay of Plenty
Hi, our broccoli is very bitter, how can we improve the flavour?
Hi Maxine, there can be several reasons why broccoli is bitter, the main one is that it is starting to 'bolt', this is when the plant starts to flower prematurely. Bolting can be caused by temperature fluctuations (hot and cold) or too much heat, broccoli are a cool weather crop. Holding seedlings too long in their container before planting out into the garden and inconsistent watering can also cause bolting which is the plants mechanism to reproduce itself as it is nearing the end of its life. Some broccoli varieties are more bitter than others and bolt quicker, choose heat tolerant varieties or quick maturing varieties. Even if the head is small, pick your broccoli when the florets are tight, close together and bright green. If the florets are loose, turning yellow and spreading apart, the plant is going to seed and the heads will be bitter. To prevent bitter broccoli, consistent watering throughout the growing season, adding generous quantities of organic compost to the garden at planting time and regular feeding with Tui Vegetable Food or Tui Novatec will benefit the plants. When cooking bitter broccoli, if you add it to stir fries and use plenty of spice, condiments, lemon or lime juice in the stir fry it should be edible. Lianne, Tui Team.