Sessantina Grossa is a vegetable related to a turnip. Commonly known with the names of Broccoli Rabe, Raab, Rapini, Rappone and Turnip broccoli. . In Italy, Broccoli Rabe is a very commonly used vegetable. The edible parts are the florets and the leaves closest to the florets. It is a quite bitter vegetable. The bitterness level depends on the freshness of the product as well as the part of the world in which it is cultivated. Sometimes the bitterness is also closely related to the amount of pesticides used on the farm. The lower the amount of pesticides, the more bitter the taste
Planting starts in either March or April, depending on the climatic zone and the first harvest can be in Late May or early June.
Sessantina Grossa can be planted in the same ground and rotated once every three to four years to avoid clubroot infestation. The ideal planting soil should have a PH of 6.5 to 7.0 in order to minimize the production of clubroot. Once the terrain is prepared and the seeds are planted, Sessantina Grossa produces within 6 to 8 weeks and continues to produce until October – November. If potted first in pots, ideally the seedling should be kept indoor for 6 weeks before transplanting to the ground.
Sessantina Grossa is used in a variety of different recepices. Here in the US the most common use is with pasta and sausages. The broccoli rabe is first sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, red pepper, salt and garlic. The sausage is cooked in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, red pepper salt and garlic. When the Pasta is cooked (al dente) and strained of excess water, it is mixed with the sauteed broccoli rabe and the sausage and served very hot. Of course, Broccoli rabe can be steamed and served with extra virgin Olive oil.
One cup (3 oz.) of cooked Broccoli Rabe contains only 20 calories. It contains high dose of healthy fiber. (~3 oz.) supplies 10% fiber, 77% Vitamin A, 52% of Vitamin C, 10% calcium, and 6% iron. It is also a good source of Vitamins E and K, potassium, folate, and phosphorus. A complete listing of its nutritional benefits can be found in the USDA National Journal.
Growing information: Sessantina Grossa should be planted when the climate has reached a daily temperature of 65 degrees. The growth is ideal during 60 degrees F temperatures and slows down when it reaches 70’s and can be damage at 85 degrees. In soil beds, the seeds should be planted OE to oe inch deep. In a deep-dug raised bed, it is best to space the seeds 10” – 15” apart. The soil should be kept warm (65-68 degrees) to insure optimum growth. Pad like warmers can be used if the temperature goes below 60 degrees F. Once the plants germinate, it is recommended to give as much sun light as possible. When the plants are almost half-grown it is important to side-dress with nitrogen fertilizer. The soil should always be ample moist especially when the florets are coming out. Organic mulch can be used in order to avoid the growth of weeds.
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