Broccoli is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and one of the tastiest. Here are some tips to grow fabulous broccoli.
- If growing from seed, start broccoli indoors 5 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring.
- Plant transplants that are 4 to 6 weeks old with four or five true leaves.
- Leggy transplants or transplants with crooked stems can be planted up to their first leaves so that they will not grow top heavy.
- Plant seedlings in a sunny area 18 to 24 inches apart and maintain weeding between plants. This allows available moisture to go to the broccoli plants, not the weeds.
- Broccoli will be ready to harvest in 55 to 85 days when grown from transplants, depending on the variety.
- Be sure to keep soil moist during the growing season, decreasing close to harvest. Water broccoli at the base of the plant.
- Cut broccoli when the heads are still green and tight. Cut the central head with five to six inches of stem.
- Be sure to leave the base of the plant and some outer leaves to encourage new heads on secondary shoots.
- Heads that have begun to open showing small yellow flowers are past the eating stage, this is called bolting.
Some popular varieties of broccoli are : Bonanza, Green Comet, Green Goliath, Italian Sprouting, Packman, Late Purple Sprouting, Premium Crop, Romanesco, Violet Queen and Waltham.
Here are some recipes that showcase the variety of ways to enjoy broccoli.
Blue Cheese Broccoli
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
- Cut broccoli into florets.
- Cook broccoli until crisp tender.
- Combine blue cheese and whipping cream and mix until somewhat smooth.
- In small skillet sauté garlic and nuts in butter.
- Stir nut mixture into blue cheese sauce. Serve over hot broccoli.
Broccoli with Orange Sauce
2 bunches broccoli (about 1 pound), untrimmed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook broccoli until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain.
- Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, in skillet, combine orange juice, shallots, vinegar and pepper flakes.
- Simmer over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Spoon sauce over broccoli; toss gently.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 teaspoons onion
2 teaspoons melted butter
3 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
5 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 pound fresh broccoli
- Cook onion in butter until tender.
- Blend in flour and pepper; add milk.
- Cook over medium heat until thickened.
- Add cheese.
- In another pan, dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water.
- Add broccoli.
- Cook until tender.
- Add to cheese mixture; blend.
2 bunches broccoli (chopped florets)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup raisins
6 slices well-cooked bacon, finely chopped
- Mix all of the above ingredients and then stir in the dressing.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar