Broccoli grows like a tree with a thick, edible trunk that sprouts leaves, or branches and clusters of small, tight flower heads that turn bright green when cooked. Once fully mature or bolting, the flower buds will sprout golden yellow edible flowers.
Broccoli is harvested year-round, though it is a cool weather crop with a peak season from October through April.
Broccoli grows in two common forms: broccoli calabrese (sprouting broccoli) and heading broccoli, which is also known as cauliflower broccoli, as its shape resembles the same dense curd shape as cauliflower.
Broccoli has been widely known to be a valuable source of carotenoids that have antioxidant properties capable of preventing and reducing risks of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Broccoli can be eaten fresh or cooked and is mild enough to be paired with numerous flavors and textures. Saute carrots, onions and celery in a pot, add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and vegetable stock then cook until softened and puree into soup. Add chopped broccoli florets to egg custard, pour into par-baked tart shell and bake until set. Toss fresh broccoli with grated carrots and a mayo-based dressing for a cold salad. Cook chopped broccoli with cream, then puree and strain into a sauce for seafood or pasta. Broccoli will keep, refrigerated for up to a week.