Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Vegetables


Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, like cauliflower and cabbage. The part of the plant that is eaten is actually an undeveloped flower head with many tiny flower buds crowded onto it. When left to grow, the heads turn a bright yellow. Broccoli with yellow buds should be avoided, as this is a clear indication that the broccoli is old.

Types Edit

The most common type of broccoli is green, and is also known as calabrese. Purple sprouting broccoli has a purple tinge to the heads and is finer and leafier than the calabrese with smaller heads. As its name suggests, it is harvested closer to sprouting age, making it softer and bendier. A less common variety is the white sprouting broccoli, which behaves much like its purple brother.

Buying broccoli Edit

  • When buying broccoli, look for clean stems that are not dry or split.
  • Avoid broccoli with yellow buds, as this is a sign of age.
  • When buying sprouting broccoli, the stalks should bend flexibly without breaking.
  • Broccoli is best when kept in the fridge no longer than two days.

Preparation and use Edit

Cooking Edit

Broccoli can be eaten raw, lightly cooked, roasted, or slow-cooked.

Broccoli can be eaten raw although many people prefer it once it has been lightly blanched or cooked more thoroughly. If it is overcooked it takes on a yellow-brown cast and becomes mushy, so handle it with care. Properly cooked standard broccoli is very bright green, having lost the bluish cast of raw broccoli but not gained any hint of a yellow-brown cast.

Because it only needs a very light cooking, broccoli is usually added to recipes near the end of their cooking time, and it is ideal for stir-frying or steaming. The stem, cut into thin disks, goes well in stir-fry as if it were a different vegetable than the flower buds.

Broccoli can be roasted; a thin coating of oil is useful to prevent drying out and burning, and cooking at high temperature (425°F, 220°C) yields a crisped exterior. Cut into pieces, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, then roast for 30–40 minutes.

Alternatively, broccoli can be braised or stewed slowly for a long time.

Stem Edit

The thick stem is usually cut off, but it is edible and tastes the same as the florets. The only difference is that the outside is rather fibrous. Slicing crosswise into thin disks will solve this problem; alternately, and more wastefully, the stem can be peeled or trimmed to remove the tough part. Note that the thick green outside can easily be peeled off by hand (once peel is started with a knife), but the fibrous part is actually a thin layer inside the outer peel, and the fibers require a peeler or knife to remove.

The stem can be peeled, chopped or finely sliced and used in casseroles because it withstands more cooking than the florets. Stems can also commonly be seen in grocery stores in matchstick or julienne form, packaged as broccoli slaw.

Purple sprouting broccoli Edit

Unlike the calabrese, purple sprouting broccoli can cooked whole, with leaves and stem attached.

In dishes Edit

Steamed broccoli goes very well with lemon juice and salt.

Broccoli may be added to chicken or turkey soup, and to omelets.

Broccoli goes very well on pizza, but must be protected from drying and then burning. A thin coating of oil will do the job. It can be expedient and efficient to use the oil from an anchovy can, assuming one also puts anchovies on the pizza. Place chopped broccoli in a bowl twice as large as needed to hold the broccoli. Pour the oil over the top, then work the oil in with your hands.

Seasonality Edit

Seasonality tables|Autumn|Winter|Spring|Summer|All year
Broccoli Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern hemisphere                        
Southern hemisphere                        

The calabrese broccoli season starts slowly in the summer, and peaks in the autumn.

Seasonality tables|Autumn|Winter|Spring|Summer|All year
Broccoli (sprouting) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern hemisphere                        
Southern hemisphere                        

Purple and white sprouting broccoli have their seasons in the late winter, making them ideal for bridging the gap between the winter and spring vegetables.

Out of season broccoli can be imported from countries near the equator. It is sometimes available frozen.

Broccoli recipes Edit

External links Edit

Delia Online, broccoli Eat the Seasons | Purple sprouting broccoli