Winter is purple spouting broccoli’s time to shine

Brassica oleracea - Early purple sprouting broccoli covered in frost in a vegetable garden

GAP Photos/Tim Gainey

IN THE depths of the UK winter, most of my vegetable beds are bare, except for my star performer: purple sprouting broccoli. It is in the middle of its fabulous January growth spurt.

This giant of a broccoli plant is arguably the queen of the brassica family of vegetables. Also known as winter sprouting broccoli, it is very tolerant of cold, and requires several weeks of cold weather before it puts forth its flower buds and becomes ready to harvest.

Unlike ordinary broccoli plants, which have a single large head and are usually harvested by autumn, purple sprouting broccoli …