Pick the Perfect Floret
Though it thrives in the cold weather and peaks from late autumn to early spring, broccoli is available fresh year-round. Here's what to look for when shopping for broccoli:
- The best broccoli will have dark green tops with lighter green stems.
- Buds should be tightly closed, with no mushy spots or signs of yellowing.
- The stalks should feel firm and crisp, never limp or wobbly.
At most stores, you can also buy packages of pre-cut broccoli florets--look for the same characteristics to ensure quality.
Broccoli can stay fresh for up to two weeks if you store it unwashed, dry, and tightly wrapped in a plastic bag. Keep in mind broccoli's nutritional value depletes the longer you store it, so you're better off using it as soon as possible.
Another alternative is frozen broccoli--you can use as much or as little as you like and freezing does a great job of preserving nutrients.
Cook It Right
Perfectly cooked broccoli is an appetizing bright green with a mild, pleasant flavor and a tender but firm texture. To avoid overcooking, uncover once it's done and serve right away. You can also plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking--this will preserve the color, flavor, and nutrients.
An International Favorite
Broccoli is tremendously popular in Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and American cuisines.
Try it lightly steamed or raw as a snack, battered and fried, simmered in soup, seared in a stir-fry, baked in a casserole, or quiche, tossed in a salad, sprinkled on pizza, or mixed into your favorite pasta.
And don't throw away that stalk! Try shredding it and substituting it for cabbage (its cousin) in your favorite coleslaw recipe.