Purple sprouting broccoli is in peak season at the moment and it’s best eaten as soon as possible after picking – so veg boxes, farm shops and farmers’ markets are a great way of getting hold of it. And it’s not just purple; you can get it in green, too.
Purple sprouting broccoli is packed with vitamins and minerals and is really good for you, particularly when it’s fresh. You eat it whole – leaves, stems, heads and all. The heads are actually immature flowers. (Useless fact for the day!).
I have to confess I had never tried sprouting broccoli until 18 months ago. My next door neighbour had a surplus on his allotment and said I could pick it any time. I politely thanked him, because until then, my only experience of this spring vegetable had been slightly limp and soggy, and it tended to gently compost itself at the back of the fridge.
When picking from Pete’s allotment, I happened to munch a bit, just as it was, and I discovered that it’s absolutely delicious! The problem previously had been that I had been keeping it for too long, before using it.
So here are some quick ideas for enjoying purple sprouting broccoli:
- Eat it raw – just wash it and then eat it in salad or with a dip such as hummus, for a lovely snack.
- Cook it as a side vegetable – wash and steam for 3-5 minutes, until just softening. Serve immediately.
- Stir fry it – wash and dry well. Stir fry (covered) for 3-5 minutes in sesame oil. Delicious with toasted sesame seeds!
- Wash it and slice finely (the stems and the heads and leaves) to add to rice for a couple of minutes or combine with a pasta sauce, for example – it’s so quick!
- Make a feature of it – try broccoli & kale stir fry or spring vegetable quinoa
- Generally, cook it as you would whole head broccoli / calabrese, but for slightly less time. The flavour is similar but more delicate.
Try out our broccoli recipes: http://www.vegbox-recipes.co.uk/ingredients/broccoli.php#recipes
If you have a favourite way of cooking purple sprouting broccoli, please share it!