Expand Your Broccoli Horizons

Broccoli aficionados know that mid- to late-summer is one the best times to plant broccoli from seeds or transplants. In all but short summer areas, planting at this time takes advantage of the last warm days of summer to speed seedling growth but allows the heads to mature in the cool months of fall. Broccoli lovers also know that there is more than one type of broccoli, something you may want to check out if you’re planting a fall vegetable garden.

Sprouting broccoli yields many small heads instead of one large one. And it comes in both green- and purple-headed varieties. Broccoli raab is a broccoli relative from Italy that has a slightly more intense flavor. It, too, is harvested when the florets are small. Try cutting a long section of stem (leaves and all) and sauteing with garlic or shallots in a little butter or olive oil. ‘Romanesco’ is an eye-catcher that produces swirling light yellowish-green heads that look like a piece of sea coral but have the flavor and texture of cauliflower. Chinese broccoli has a spicy, mustard-like flavor. It’s harvested when heads just begin to form and plants are less than 1 foot tall.