Why doesn't my gailan have florets?

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Greg Who Cooks

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Okay I probably eat more gailan (Chinese broccoli) than most DC members. Lately my gailan doesn't have any florets. In past years my gailan looked like mutated broccoli, really little florets and really big leaves. Most people probably cut off and throw away the broccoli leaves... What I've liked about gailan is that that the leaves are a big part but the florets are there too, kind of an appearance of broccoli and spinach mixed up.

But now all the gailan I see in the markets has no florets. Is it just the season? I swear I've eaten it year in year out for several years, but I've never gotten it without florets. It's still good but I want my gailan florets too!

BTW gailan is similar in taste to broccoli but milder. I either serve it like spinach (buttered and salted) or even better I cook Thai food and serve the main course on a bed of gailan. This is particularly good with Thai curries.

Gailan with small florets:
evergreenseeds_2201_2502077


Gailan with no florets is just leaves. The gailan I used to get had bigger florets than the image above.

Is it just the season? Will they have bigger florets later in the spring and summer? I sure hope so!
 
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GLC

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I haven't grown it, but I've seen complaints that when the temperature is on the rise, it can be hard to catch it before it goes all the way to bloom. Maybe they were having that problem, blooming before they could cut it, and cut it early to be sure of having a crop.

If there was going to be a problem with premature warming, this would be the year.
 

Greg Who Cooks

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I haven't grown it, but I've seen complaints that when the temperature is on the rise, it can be hard to catch it before it goes all the way to bloom. Maybe they were having that problem, blooming before they could cut it, and cut it early to be sure of having a crop.
Well I hope it's just some temporary situation. It's available all year round here in L.A. and I've been accustomed to just having some whenever I want it. I got some last week at one of my favorite Asian markets (Vietnamese owned) and bought their gailan and the plastic bag had condensed water that made it difficult to see inside but when I got home I discovered there were no florets. I thought it might just be their source so this week I went to another of my favorite Asian markets (Korean owned) and their gailan had no florets either. This was the store where I usually bought gailan in previous years and they always had florets. I bought some anyway. This guy can't go without his gailan! :)

I'd even like to try some where the florets had partially gone to flower... Just curious how it would be different.
If there was going to be a problem with premature warming, this would be the year.
That's ominous! :eek:
 

GLC

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The other thing is that it's kind of cursed with becoming popular. So it may take some time for production to catch up in enough regions for there to always be some in flower.
 

powerplantop

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The other thing is that it's kind of cursed with becoming popular. So it may take some time for production to catch up in enough regions for there to always be some in flower.

That may be the problem. One other thing may be the extra day in the field cost the farmer $$$. Or perhaps shoppers who don't know only buy the way that you are seeing it.
 

Greg Who Cooks

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Well I've never seen this in previous years and I've been enjoying gailan for several years. I discovered it in a Korean market, and it can be found at all our Los Angeles Asian markets, but I have yet to see it in a mainstream supermarket. I'm very fortunate to have several Asian markets nearby.

From what I've seen in the markets it's mainly Asians buying gailan, and Asian-curious folks like me! Shoppers who aren't familiar with it probably don't buy it. Which reminds me there's plenty of other Brassica variants I have yet to try, and probably 3-4 dozen other vegetables I don't even know WTH they are! :)
 

Greg Who Cooks

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I'm gauging how well known gailan is based upon supermarket availability in Los Angeles, a city that has a large enough Asian population to support plenty of Asian markets. I just haven't seen it in mainstream supermarkets, and I'm assuming most LA residents don't frequent Asian markets because when I'm in Asian markets most of the other shoppers are Asian.

I'm no authority on the availability of gailan anywhere else other than a few cities I've visited (and haven't seen it). Maybe all the supermarkets in the US outside California carry gailan all the time and I wouldn't know.

Heck I don't even know what the stuff is. Is it something you eat? ;)
 

GLC

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I wonder how many farms are growing for the Asian specialty markets. While there are only 14.4 million Asian-Americans, they're concentrated in ten states, which makes for some sizable stores. I know the largest in Austin, MT Supermarket, is very large, rivals the largest mainstream groceries. They're always busy when I'm in there. And there are some other, smaller operations. I suspect getting really fresh specialty vegetables is something of a problem for a lot of them.

But about gailan. I wonder if growers are just not too concerned about the florets. They're rarely mentioned in descriptions, and they are only visible in maybe half the photos. I wonder if the produce manager at the Asian market has anything to say about whether they consider florets to be especially desirable.
 

Greg Who Cooks

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Well funny thing, my latest batch of gailan had small florets. :) Not as big as I'm used to but good enough! About like the pic in the OP:

evergreenseeds_2201_2502077
 
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