Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cima di Rapa Quarantina - AKA Broccoli Rabe or Rapini

This is a picture of one of my earliest crops from my garden it is often called rapini at the grocery store, but is also known as broccoli rabe. This is a picture of a variety of rapini called Cima di Rapa Quarantina (the yellow flowered plants in the photo). They grow very rapidly and should probably be planted in succession a week or two between each planting in the spring as they may go to seed early if the weather heats up. These were great tasting with a strong flavor, not like mild broccoli, and don't be deceived it is closer to a turnip genetically than to broccoli anyway. To save the seeds let your best plants flower, the nice big ones. Pull up the first ones that flower as you want to extend your season not make it shorter with plants that immediately start flowering after they reach any appreciable size. Let the pods dry on the plant and smash or break them open. It might be easier to smash them in a bag and then blow the chaff away with a fan, but you might lose a lot of seed if all the pods aren't broken apart. Let the seed dry an additional week on a plate or in a bowl and store them in a bead bag.

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