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Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

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Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  dizzygardener on 5/27/2011, 11:20 am


Photo from http://runkaleighrun.wordpress.com

Other common names are Broccoli Raab and Rapini

As the name suggests Rabe is related to Broccoli, but not by much. They are both members of the Brassica family, but similarities pretty much begin and end there. Rabe is a popular vegetable in Italy and China, and is gaining popularity in the United States. It is a fantastic bitter green.

Growing:


Rabe is a very fast grower. You can either sow seeds directly outdoors or start seeds inside and transplant outside. Rabe can tolerate some frost. Sow it in the ground a couple weeks after you would sow peas. Sow the seeds about a half inch deep. If you the keep the soil moist the seedlings should emerge in 3-5 days. Although it does best in cool weather, it can also do well in warm weather so long as it has a bit of shade. Recommended spacing for Rabe is 4 per square, but I have had success growing it 6 per square in 3 offset rows of 2. Rabe is very low maintenance with one caveat: keep it well watered. If you let the soil dry out it will turn very bitter.

Harvesting:


Date to maturity for Rabe is 40-70 days, but really DTM is mostly irrelevant for this veggie. You harvest Rabe when it bolts, but before the flower buds open. You have to really pay attention here. Once rabe sends up its flower stalk the buds will open in a day (maybe two). You really don't have any time to wait to harvest. As soon as those bud clusters are about the size of a quarter it is time to harvest the rabe.

When you harvest it you cut off the bud and a few leaves below it. Most varieties of Rabe will continue to send up more buds before the taste declines. I was able to get about three harvests off each plant. So, in this since it is sort of a cut and come again kind of veggie.

You can eat all parts of the plant, and will have more leaves then buds.

Cooking:

Rabe is a bit bitter, so you always blanch it first before you prepare the rest of the dish. Just bring some salted water to a boil, drop the rabe in and boil it for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the water off the Rabe and then you are ready to proceed.

You can prepare Rabe anyway that you would prepare Kale, Chard, Spinach, or any other bitter green. My favorite method is to saute it in butter with garlic and onions. Another favorite method is to add it to Macaroni and Cheese. That slightly bitter edge goes great with Mac 'n Cheese.

Recipes:

1. Sauteed Raab

Blanch Raab, drain and set aside.

In a skillet melt some butter and sweat some chopped onions and minced garlic in the butter until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add the Raab and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Mac 'n Cheese with Broccoli Raab.

Blanch Rabe, drain and set aside. (You want enough for about a 1 cup of blanched Rabe.)

I use Ina Garten's Mac n' Cheese recipe. Rather than type it out I'll just give you the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/mac-and-cheese-recipe2/index.html .

I add the blanched Rabe to the finished cheese sauce and then prepare accordingly.

Other recipes:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchString=Rabe&fnSearchType=site

I highly recommend Rachael Ray's Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Stoup.

Related links:


http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/BroccoliRaab.htm

http://articles.sfgate.com/2005-12-14/food/17403811_1_broccoli-rabe-cook-broccoli-olive-oil

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/15/dining/15mini.html

http://www.producepete.com/shows/broccolirabe.html

http://www.produceoasis.com/Items_folder/Vegetables/Rapini.html




Last edited by dizzygardener on 5/27/2011, 11:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  middlemamma on 5/27/2011, 11:27 am

Another great Friday post! Thank you Dizzy!
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  dianamarie03 on 5/27/2011, 11:39 am

Thanks for the post, I've been waiting to see what it would be this week! I have a few empty squares I might have to try this. Do you think it's too late for zone 5? I have squares in full sun and some in partial shade.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  westie42 on 5/27/2011, 11:59 am

I love this stuff and oddly don't find it bitter. I have tried it for four years now but seldom get much out of a crop. Don't know what I am doing wrong either. In my new SFG boxes I have a couple squares of rabe started and have high hopes. To me this thread is possibly the best one in the whole forum. I say possibly because there is lots I have not looked at but for sure this is always a real dandy and I look forward to Friday because of It.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  Uprooted on 5/27/2011, 12:04 pm

Thank you, this is helpful -- especially the tip to think of/use it as a bitter green rather than broccoli. Maybe I will plant some later on for a fall crop.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  dizzygardener on 5/27/2011, 12:21 pm

@westie42 wrote:I love this stuff and oddly don't find it bitter. I have tried it for four years now but seldom get much out of a crop. Don't know what I am doing wrong either. In my new SFG boxes I have a couple squares of rabe started and have high hopes. To me this thread is possibly the best one in the whole forum. I say possibly because there is lots I have not looked at but for sure this is always a real dandy and I look forward to Friday because of It.

I only planted two squares and harvested about 2.5 gallon sized bags of the stuff. Like I said, I got bout 3 harvest off each plant.

Perhaps you are harvesting the whole plant? You only harvest the cluster and a few leaves below it and let it send up side shoots for you. You harvest those the same way. At the end of the planting pull the whole plant and eat all the leaves and any buds left.
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  quiltbea on 5/27/2011, 5:08 pm

I need a bigger garden with all these good ideas.
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  shannon1 on 5/28/2011, 2:44 am

I need another TT!!!
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  gingeandhales on 4/14/2012, 6:07 pm

Thanks for this post. I did some last year, but too little too late. I got one extremely delicious harvest but after it was cooked down it was one small portion. I'm trying it again this year, planting much more and using the seed that I got the best results from last year (I have two different kinds and one was undeniably heartier then the other).

One point of contention: The blanching before eating. Not only does it take away the amazing flavor of the vegetable but it also take away some of the nutrients. My favorite way to prepare it is sauteed in olive oil with garlic, salt, and red pepper. However, I have mostly had the Andy Boy version, in which the recipe works perfectly. Maybe some varieties are more bitter. I also tried it with my own from last year (which was delicious but so tiny a portion) and with some I picked up at the farmer's market (which was surprisingly weak flavored and disappointing to say the least--simply not bitter enough).

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  Turan on 6/14/2012, 9:22 pm

I just brought in a big basket of raab that was going to open its buds if I did not move fast. This time I cut it with a couple leaves left. So maybe it will sprout and give us another harvest. Which would be nice except I plan to plant quinoa there.... ummmm o well

I can blanch it like broccoli and freeze it. Any other ideas? Maybe use the kale chip recipe for the leaves and blanch hte stems and buds?

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/23/2014, 12:50 am

This one is on the agenda for me this fall. It will be the first time I've planted broccoli of any type(which I love) and I really look forward to it.
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  cpl100 on 6/23/2014, 7:41 pm

I can't offer any information about growing as I have never attempted it (though I may now if I can find the seeds).  However, just wanted to offer up that it is very tasty with pesto!

I do blanch mine first.
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/23/2014, 7:48 pm

Do you just spoon some pesto over it, or do you mean you include it in a pasta with pesto sauce?
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  cpl100 on 6/23/2014, 11:22 pm

I have done both, mostly without pasta as we do not eat much pasta in our house.  I forgot earlier that I do have an excellent soup recipe that uses it too.
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  camprn on 6/24/2014, 6:56 am

The rapini is a green leafy vegetable as opposed to broccoli which is harvested for the flower bud stalk. It is delicious. I'm going to try growing it in partial shade this summer, but it is definitely going in for autumn.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  cpl100 on 6/24/2014, 9:23 am

@camprn wrote:The rapini is a green leafy vegetable as opposed to broccoli which is harvested for the flower bud stalk. It is delicious. I'm going to try growing it in partial shade this summer, but it is definitely going in for autumn.
Did you get your seeds locally?
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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  camprn on 6/24/2014, 9:57 am

@cpl100 wrote:
@camprn wrote:The rapini is a green leafy vegetable as opposed to broccoli which is harvested for the flower bud stalk. It is delicious. I'm going to try growing it in partial shade this summer, but it is definitely going in for autumn.
Did you get your seeds locally?
yes.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic VII: Broccoli Rabe

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/9/2014, 9:03 pm

Just harvested my first flower cluster.  I water my raab almost every day, and it has grown very quickly.  A lot of the leaves are bigger than my hand in something like a month's time.  The flower cluster popped up quickly too; I'm always checking for bugs and didn't spot it before today.

I cut about the stalk at about three leaves down from the head, not counting some tiny leaves around the head.  A video on youtube recommended cutting three leaves down, but it appeared the leaves on that fellow's raab were paired, whereas mine advanced as singlets up the stem.  Oh well, we'll see.  I'm hoping for lots more sprouts from that plant, which is my largest out of about a dozen.  It's still about 18 inches tall and has lots of good leaves on it.

I tasted one leaf raw, and it was mild and very juicy.  The leaves on the stalk I cut wilted very quickly, even though so I put them into water to see if they puff up again.  If it gets crisp again, then these leaves won't need blanching to get the bitterness out, and I will probably eat this first head and leaves raw to thoroughly familiarize myself with the taste. It's the first time I've ever grown the stuff and I have to say I'm impressed with the flavor and tenderness and rapid growth so far.  And that it's a cold weather crop that did very well when seeded into very hot summer soil.

Unfortunately, the flea beetles are back, and cabbage moths are always hovering about, so this looks like the kind of crop best grown under covers.
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