< Vegetables



American farmers reckoned the broccoli a late heading version of the cauliflower. They knew it originated in the Mediterranean region, but derived knowledge of its habit and uses from the English who embraced it as a garden vegetable. Grown from seed, it was a year-round plant in the south, sown in April and harvested in October in the Middle Atlantic States, and an end of May plant in New England. Cultivated in light, loamy soil, it began its life in greenhouses in the north, undergoing a transplant when the soil had warmed. Plants with large symmetrical heads were left to develop seed. By such means the variety enjoyed a marked improvement over the course of the nineteenth century. Four colors predominated: green, purple, brown, and white. A showy, wholesome plant, it earned a reputation as one of the luxuries of the kitchen garden. It unfortunately must be defended from bests, such as the cabbage worm and the root maggot.

“A favorite European vegetable, nearly allied to the Cauliflower, but more hardy and surer to head; the seed should be sown in this district (New York) in the early part of May, and transplanted in June; farther South the sowing should be delayed until June or July, and the transplanting accordingly from August to October. In parts of the country where the thermometer does not fall below 20 or 25 degrees, Brocoli may be had in perfection from November until March. It succeeds best in a moist and rather cool atmosphere.” -- W.H. Carson’s Seed Catalogue, 1877.

Purple Cape    History

one of the hardiest and most popular, the earliest of the purple varieties. This has a close compact head of a beautiful purple colour, in general it is not very large, but if the season is showery, and it is planted in good groun, it will grow as large as a cauliflower.

Walcheren    History

comparatively new (as of 1871); and so much resembling the cauliflower that the difference hardly perceptible; creamy white; best for early use.

Southampton    History

fine, hardy, large, yellow—one of the old popular sorts, like Portsmouth, Sulphur, etc.

Carter’s Summer    History

an excellent and early summer variety

Cabbage-Brocoli    History

New, introduced from England, largely grown by London market gardeners, numerous blossom heads; both blossom heads and leaves used as greens; especially desirable for the South; an improvement on the Collard, deserves a trial in the North.

Broccoli (American Matron 1851)    History

Cut the heads with short stalks, and pare off the tough skin; tie the small shoots into bunches, and boil them a shorter time than the heads; put salt into the water. Served with or without toast.

Brocoli ((Virginia Housewife 1837)    History

The kind that bears flowers around the joints of the stalks, cut into convenient lengths for your dish; scrape the skin from the stalk, and pick out such leaves and flowers as need rejection; tie up in bunches, and boil and season it like asparagus. The broccoli that heads at the top like cauliflowers, must be treated like cauliflowers.

Broccoli (Hydropathic Cook Book 1854)    History

Peel the stalks, and boil them fifteen minutes; tie the shoots into bunches; add a little milk or cream, and stew gently for ten minutes.

Broccoli and Buttered Eggs (Practical Housekeeper 1857)    History

Keep a handsome bunch for the middle, and have eight pieces to go round; toast a piece of bread to fit the inner part of a dish or plate; boil the broccoli. In the mean time have ready six (or more) eggs beaten, put for six a quarter of a pound of fine butter into a saucepan, with a little salt, stir it over the fire, and as it becomes warm add the eggs, and shake the saucepan till the mixtures is thick enough; our it on the hot toast, and lay the broccoli as before directed. This receipt is a very good one, it is occasionally varied, but without improvement, the dish is however nearly obsolete.

Rape-cole (United States Cook Book 1859)    History

Peel them, cut them in slices, and boil them until soft, in salt and water; pour over them sufficient butter-sauce, season them with white pepper and grated nutmeg, shake them a couple of times, let them boil up, and dish them.

Broccoli with Cheese (What to Eat 1863)    History

Clean and wash them well, throw in boiling water with a little salt; boil till cooked, and drain them. Put them on a crockery dish when prepared; pour on a white sauce, in which you have mixed a little grated cheese; then dust the whole with fine bread crumbs; after which you take a soft brush or a feather, which you dip in lukewarm butter, and put a thin coat of it all over the broccoli; then place the dish in a quick oven for ten minutes, and serve as they are, i.e., in the dish in which they have been cooked.