It’s happened twice now: my daughter has requested that we grow Brussels sprouts in the garden, and I have sallied forth to the local garden center right around October and returned with cute little baby brassicas. Only weeks later do we realize…these are not Brussels sprouts.
How can this happen twice, you might wonder? The first year they were cabbages. And a Brussels sprout looks like a cabbage on a stick, with little buds all over the stick. So I kept watching these cabbage-shaped things and waiting for the stalk to shoot up. Needless to say, it never did.
This year, I resolved to try again. The plants were clearly labeled. I brought them home, my daughter happily planted them in her little patch of garden. We waited. Giant green leaves and a knobby white center emerged…we had planted cauliflower.
I thought my daughter was going to cry. She loves Brussels sprouts and she had waited a year and a half for these. And they were cauliflower. (In my defence, they’re all in the same plant family. The little ones look enough alike to my untrained eye…but I digress.)
There was no point in digging them up by the time we realized the mistake, and it was too late to try again this year. So we watched the cauliflower grow to a pretty ridiculous size, and then I chopped one down and brought it in for dinner.
Whatever the ancients may say, I think that ambrosia might just be home-grown cauliflower. It was really, really good.
When we realized that we could cook and eat the leaves like any other green…well, it almost made it worth the four square feet of garden each plant took up to make its tasty head.
And it almost made it worth missing out on the Brussels sprouts, again.
So I went to the freezer section at the grocery store, loaded up on bags of Brussels sprouts, and we’re making the best of it. I also added one thing to the wish list attached to my seed catalogs: Brussels sprout seeds. If those grow up to be kale…well, I guess at that point I’ll concede defeat.