Farm Fresh: Broccoli & Broccolini

Veg ID: Green!  Just like in the picture books.  Broccoli generally comes as a large head (or “crown”), or as leafy side shoots that are just as tasty.  Broccolini has a slimmer, longer stalk and the heads are sometimes starting to flower (we often bunch the broccolini).  Both are quite sweet after a fall frost, and broccolini tends to have a milder, sweeter taste all season.

Keep it fresh: Store in the fridge in a perforated bag or wrapped in a damp towel.  Broccoli needs to breathe!  If it gets a bit limp over time, just dunk it in cold water for a minute or two and, almost like magic, it will generally perk right up. 

Eat it fresh (July-Oct): Raw in salads or with dip, steamed, boiled, roasted with oil and a bit of salt just like you’d oven roast potatoes, or in a creamy broccoli soup.  Broccolini is an especially nice raw snack and convenient for stir-fry.

Enjoy year round: Frozen in pieces or as soup.

September Farmer Fave:  Give broccoli a quick steam bath or dunk in boiling water for just a few minutes to soften it up, and then top with a creamy sauce for a cold fall evening.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try using well-cooked squash or cauliflower as a base for your sauce by putting it into the blender along with something sour (vinegar, lemon juice), something sweet (honey, sugar), and something salty (nutritional yeast, soy sauce, table salt).  The creamy texture and taste you can get from blending veggies is unreal.

All-season Farmer Fave: Try adding frozen broccoli to your winter stir-fry for a bright green flavour punch.  Especially with some frozen green peppers and stored cabbage, it’s so fresh and crunchy that you’ll forget the farm is covered with snow.

Broccoli salad is as versatile as you are.  Raw or lightly steamed, creamy or vinaigrette dressing, add whatever is around.  Broccoli really does make a salad more hearty than just greens do, which makes it a great lunch food when you’ve got a busy afternoon planned.

Frozen broccoli: makes its way into many winter meals at our house.  Grab a handful and add to casseroles, soups, stir fry, stews, and anywhere else that you’d use fresh broccoli where it’s OK for them to be a bit softer.  When the broccoli is quite fresh, just take five minutes to chop it up into bite-size florets,  dunk them briefly in a pot of boiling water, freeze them on cookie sheets (so they don’t stick together) and then put them in a freezer bag.  This blanching step before freezing is important for keeping the broccoli tender (but not too mushy) and nutrient-rich colour while in the freezer.


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