The Northwest Raab Phenomenon

raabAt the farmers market in Portland, the first real vegetable – i.e. not kale or overwintered onions – is always raab.

Every year there’s more & more of it! Raab is sort of the generic name for the flower buds of the cruciferous (cabbage family) – think broccoli raab or rapini.

So there’s kale, turnip, cabbage or brussels sprout, and probably 7 more that I can’t remember off the top of my head … they taste pretty similar, but some are a little sweeter or more tender than others.

They’re all great steamed, sauteed, stir fried – I especially like them in pasta dishes. Recently I made penne with chick pea & collard raab with lots of garlic…

But it wasn’t until this year that I started thinking about where raab comes in – why are there so many different kids? Why didn’t I ever having it growing up on the farm? It’s simply the overwintered plant – sprouting in the spring!

So that’s why there are so many different varieties of raab, why it’s always the first thing ready in the spring…and why we didn’t have it in Ontario – it’s a lot harder to overwinter a cabbage plant where the winters are colder and longer than here in the relatively balmy Northwest. So there you go. Your vegetable lesson for the day…