SPRING BROCCOLI RAAB (Brassica rapa) also known as Broccoletti or Rapini, is an Italian heirloom with a delicious taste, especially when sauteed in olive oil and garlic with a dusting of grated parmesan, as is traditional, but you can add mushrooms, almonds, or use as a bed for eggs or other entre. Easy to grow. 30" high. 40-50 days. 100 Seeds.
ABOUT BROCCOLI RAAB: Extremely popular in Italy during the winter months, Raab, Raba, Rapa, as it is called is a leafier form of broccoli with long stalks and small, leafy florets that look like broccoli buds. Raab is actually related to the turnip family and the flavor is more substantive. The whole plant is eaten. Usually more flavorful than the broccoli Americans are familiar with (increasingly hybrids are bred for blandness), it is now coming into its own in upscale gourmet markets. There are two types or two ways of growing - annuals grown in spring for greens, and bienniels sown in fall for greens and the flowering heads. Raab is low in calories and sodium. Rich in calcium, Vitamins C, A, B2, phosphorous, and a good source of protein and fiber. They also have isoflavones, which are heart protectors and are thought to be cancer protectors as well. And a recent study at the University of East Anglia found that a compound in broccoli raab called sulforaphane can help prevent and slow cartilage damage and osteoarthritis. In short, one of the healthiest vegetables you can consume! Harvest when 4-8" high. Cook as you would regular broccoli. Not recommended in salads as it can be bitter raw. Also, the lower stalks can be tough unless you first wilt it (just rinse and zap 1 minute in microwave). Fabulous simply sauteed in olive oil with garlic and garnished with pine nuts and a splash of lemon. Makes a delicious side dish to one of my favorite Italian staples, polenta.
GROWING TIPS: Fast growing leafy vegetables benefit from nitrogen side-dressings and neutral pH (6.0-6.5). Sow directly outside as soon as the soil can be worked in spring, or in fall for overwintering (though a severe temperature drop after a warm spell, or sustained temps below 15 degrees will kill it). Sow 1/2" deep, 1" apart, in rows spaced 12" apart. Emerges in 10-20 days. When 4" high thin to 6" apart. Also loves seaweed dressings.