Broccoli | CUESA

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Translated from Italian as “little arms or little shoots,” broccoli is eaten by many different cultures in many different ways. This hearty vegetable is in the brassica family, and is most closely related to cauliflower, (both are essentially the bud of a flower that will otherwise bloom and seed if left to grow). Unlike cauliflower, which prefers mainly cool climates, broccoli can thrives in many different regions of the world. That said, broccoli best in the winter when the cold weather helps it retain its sugars.

When buying broccoli, the stalk, leaves, and florets should be fresh, firm, and brightly colored, with tightly closed buds. Avoid broccoli with a woody stalk or yellow florets. Store broccoli in the fridge, preferably in the crisper. Blanching this vegetable will preserve the color (unless it’s the purple variety, in which case it will turn green when cooked, regardless of the method). When boiling, use a larger of quantity of water; it will minimize the odor. Avoid covering broccoli in a pot with a lid as it causes its color to fade. Steaming this vegetable is the best way to preserve its color, flavor and nutrients.

In Season

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Recipes with Broccoli

Roasted Brassicas with Freekeh, Cashew Cheese, and Honey Harissa Vinaigrette

Banks White, The Brixton & Rambler

Broccoli, Black Bean, and Cheddar

Joey Altman, Pier 23 Cafe

Beans and Greens

Jessica Battilana, author, Repertoire

Soba Noodle Salad

Lori Frank, Park Café Group

Articles about Broccoli

September 30, 2011

Virtual Tour of Swanton Berry Farm

Take a virtual tour of Swanton Berry Farm, where the berries are union-grown, organic, and delicious.

December 01, 2006

Cruciferous Crops

Lucky for us, one of the most cold-tolerant plant families encompasses more vegetables than any other.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »