Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Vegetables

Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, like cauliflower and cabbage.

Characteristics edit

The part of the plant we eat is actually an undeveloped flower head with many tiny flower buds crowded onto it. The most common type of broccoli—calabrese broccoli—is green.[1] Purple sprouting broccoli has a purple tinge to the heads and is finer and leafier than the smaller-headed calabrese. As its name suggests, it is harvested closer to its sprouting stage, making it softer and bendier. A less common variety is the white sprouting broccoli, which behaves much like its purple brother. When left to grow, broccoli heads turn a bright yellow.

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.

Selection and storage edit

When buying broccoli, look for clean stems that are not dry or split. When buying sprouting broccoli, the stalks should bend flexibly without breaking. Broccoli with yellow buds should be avoided, as this is a clear indication that the broccoli is old.[2] Broccoli is best when kept in the fridge no longer than a few days.

Preparation edit

The thick broccoli stem is usually cut off, but it is edible and tastes the same as the florets. However, its outside is rather fibrous and must be trimmed or peeled to get to the tender core. Slicing crosswise into thin disks is another option to shorten tougher fibers.

Use edit

Broccoli can be prepared in a variety of ways, ranging from raw to lightly cooked, roasted, or slow-cooked. Many people prefer it lightly blanched or cooked more thoroughly. When overcooked, it takes on a yellow-brown cast and becomes mushy. Properly cooked broccoli is very bright green, having lost the bluish cast of raw broccoli but without any hint of a yellow-brown cast.

Because it only needs light cooking, broccoli is usually added to recipes near the end of the cooking time, and it is ideal for stir-frying or steaming. When roasting, 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. Alternatively, broccoli can be braised or stewed slowly for a long time.

The stem can be chopped or finely sliced and used in casseroles because it withstands more cooking than the florets. It also goes well in stir-fry as if it were a different vegetable from the flower buds. Stems can also commonly be seen in grocery stores in matchstick or julienne form, packaged as broccoli slaw.

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

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  2. Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.