What is broccoli?

Like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli is a brassica and is sometimes known by its Italian name, calebrese. It has tight clusters of deep green buds and thick, edible stems and was developed from the more loosely packed purple sprouting broccoli. There's little to choose between the two in terms of flavour or nutrition.

When is broccoli in season?

All year round, but at its best from the end of July to the end of October.

Learn how to grow your own broccoli from the experts at Gardeners’ World.

Choose the best broccoli

Go for firm, bright green, undamaged heads (if it's yellow its already past its peak) and firm stalks. As broccoli deteriorates faster when in contact with the air, supermarkets often wrap it in cellophane - always choose the unwrapped type if you can as, if it still looks good, you can be sure that it has been recently picked.

How to prepare broccoli

Trim any woody stem ends or tough leaves with a knife. Divide into small, individual florets, each with a short stem, and diagonally slice the thicker stems. Rinse under cold water. Broccoli boils or steams in 3-6 mins, depending on the size of floret. In stir-fries, cook it for a couple of mins, until tender.

How to store broccoli

In an airtight bag in the fridge.

Broccoli cooking methods

Cook and drizzle with olive oil or melted butter or a handful of grated parmesan; add to a cheesy pasta bake; stir-fry in groundnut oil with chopped garlic and dry fried cashews, adding a drizzle of sesame oil to the pan just before cooking ends.

See our guide on how to cook broccoli for five different cooking methods and detailed instructions. Also check out our broccoli recipe collection for more inspiration.

Alternatives to broccoli

Try purple sprouting broccoli or cauliflower.