Part of the brassica or cabbage family, broccoli is a mild and very popular vegetable of which there are three main types. Calabrese (the most common variety) has a thick stem and big clustery head; sprouting broccoli has a thinner stem and small heads; and Tenderstem broccoli which has a thin stem with one head.
Available all year round, but at its best from end of July to the end of October.
Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, or blanch and freeze.
The stems of all varieties of broccoli can be eaten, although the stem of the larger Calabrese tends to be tougher. Cook broccoli in a pan of lightly salted water for just 2-3 minutes then drain, or steam over boiling water for 5-6 minutes. Small florets of Tenderstem broccoli are excellent stir-fried in a little hot oil with red pepper and a little chopped red chilli. Try serving broccoli with hollandaise sauce, coated in a cheese sauce, or lightly cooked and added to fish pies.