Of all the hardy vegetables that survive in the Irish climate, there is -perhaps surprisingly- purple sprouting broccoli. It can survive temperatures as low as minus 12 degrees. In contrast to most vegetables, it’s sown in spring and summer to be ready in the winter or the following spring.
Purple sprouting broccoli; of course, it needs a trim when you buy it, to make it beautiful. The whole lot is edible, except the larger coarser leaves which can be tough. It’s usually sold tied in bunches, much the same as asparagus.
In an age where increasing number of us are following vegetarian and vegan diets, we need to acknowledge that we have severely limited our scope when it comes to heritage varieties. Our medieval ancestors had more variety when it came to eating vegetables.