Like others in the brassica family, broccoli began its life in the Mediterranean. The most common sort of broccoli is the familiar emerald green variety with tightly clusters tiny buds sitting atop thick stalks. A more recent addition to the scene is broccolini, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. Broccolini is gaining in popularity due to its slender, tender long stalks, deliciously subtle flavor and loose, small buds.
Here at Abundance Acres we grow Green King Broccoli and Piracicaba Broccolini.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest of vegetables, containing excellent doses of folate, phytonutrients including betacarotene and lutein, manganese and potassium. A single cup of broccoli boasts as much calcium as a cup of milk. Broccolini is especially rich in vitamins A and C, folate and potassium.
Selection and Storage: Broccoli should have tightly closed, compact, deep green florets, with no signs of yellowing. Broccolini should have long, firm stems topped with a smallish, compact head. Florets and leaves should be healthy looking. A few yellow flowers per bunch is acceptable (about 6 or so) but more that this indicate over maturity. Store this fairly perishable vegetable in a perforated or open plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for a week. Do not wash before storing, as water clinging to its surface will cause rapid deterioration.
Culinary uses: When preparing broccoli, use a small knife to separate the florets from the stalks, cutting into roughly even-sized piece, then soak them in salt water to drive out any caterpillars – broccoli is very susceptible to them.
Looking outside the ‘boil/steam and cheese sauce broccoli’ box there are many possibilities for the healthy vegetable: braising in olive oil, steaming and drizzling with oyster sauce, and broccolini tempura!
Information from: The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen