Aww, look at the little frilly greenery above. Now boil it, boil it until it goes slightly soft and fry it with bacon, or serve it with your Xmas dinner, heck, the truly adventurous among you might even start popping them in your stir fries, because this my friends is a Flower Sprout. A clever mixture of vegetables created by crossing kale and Brussels sprouts.
Now, don’t worry when I say ‘crossing’, we’re not talking genetically modified creating here, instead, it’s a bit more like what happens when a kale and a sprout love each other very much – with scientists. The creators used the pollen from one type of plant to fertilize the other plant creating a hybrid of the two. Is anyone else hearing romantic music and visualising a bit of leafy fluttering from the kale side of things – or is that just me?
Anyway, why do you want to eat them. Because, they are really tasty. Slightly milder in terms of bitterness than a sprout, more flavourful and nutty than kale they take the best tasting bits of both vegetables and create the perfect blend. I like sprouts, but I can only eat about four of them before I think enough – and I do prefer them boiled to bits – these I kept eating and while they are still a little bitter, it’s not as overpowering as pure sprouts. They also seemed to be better served a little bit more crunchy which would obviously retain more nutrients.
Talking of which – you want nutrients, we have nutrients. A 100g serving has twice the amount of vitamin B6 than normal Brussels and double the vitamin C. They’ve also doubled the vitamin E.
Now US readers might be reading this and thinking – erm Helen, that’s a kalette. And yes, that is what hybrids of kale and sprouts are called over your side of the pond. They’re the same thing, made by the same group of scientists – you just get a different name. I admit, I think I like your one better. It’s cuter – even if it does sound a bit like a 1950s girl group. If you’ve never heard of kalettes however that’s not hugely surprising, they are literally arriving in stores there now for the first time ever.
If you want to try them, get the to the shops now as they are only on sale between November and March. For ideas of what to do with them and where to buy them, here in the UK check out the Tozer Seeds website, in the US, visit kalettes.com. I just had mine boiled and served with a roast – but, I do like the look of this pasta recipe from the UK site which mixes them with spinach and ricotta tortellini and bacon butter (yum).
Italian Flower Sprouts with Spinach and Riccota Tortelloni with Smoky Bacon Butter
200g Flower Sprouts
400g ready-made spinach and ricotta tortelloni
100g diced smoked bacon or pancetta
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon for juicing
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil. While that heats, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the bacon pieces. Fry gently until the bacon starts to crisp.
- Blanch the Flower Sprouts in the boiled water for 3-4 minutes then remove them from the water with a spoon and keep warm.
- Add the pasts to the water and simmer for 2-3 minutes before draining.
- Add the garlic and the butter to the bacon and fry until the butter begins to brown.
- Then add the Flower Sprouts and the pasta and coat both well with butter.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over the top and finished shaved or grated Parmesan Cheese.
The funny thing about all of this is that, I first heard about Flowersprouts in April this year – in fact, they were one of the foods that started me on the 30 day ‘New Food Challenge’ – remember that, if not click here – but they had just gone out of season so I didn’t get to include them. I’m glad I finally got the chance. Oh – and note I say Barely Any Kale rather than No Kale Ever, Nope. None on the front page of this blog. This is why. Because Kale can have babies…..and they’re yummy….and I want a get out clause to talk about them!!!!
All images @Tozer Seeds