Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family and is an ancestor of cauliflower. The young flower heads are eaten while still in bud and in contrast to cauliflower, some of the stalks as well. The delicate cabbage flavor is reminiscent of green asparagus. Compared with types of cabbage, broccoli is easy to digest and therefore suitable as a light food. It contains primarily vitamin A and C and calcium.
Both the rigid green stalks and the tightly packed dark green or purplish-green heads (also called florets) are edible. Choose firm stalks and closed heads with deep color and no yellow areas.
In addition to green broccoli, there are also red, blue and purple types. Calabrese is the variety with extra-large tender green-blue heads, available in summer. Sprouting broccoli is a winter vegetable producing lots of spears. If broccoli is blanched before the actual cooking process, the taste is enhanced and the color retained.
Broccoli should always be prepared fresh. Signs of freshness are a bright color and tightly closed flowers.
Refrigerate in plastic bag for up to four next days.