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Broccoli flowers sprout from the mature heads when the temperature heats up in mid to late summer. They are small yellow or white blossoms made up of four petals that form a cross shape. Their scent is very mild and has more of a vegetal aroma rather than floral. Broccoli flowers have a flavor reminiscent of broccoli leaves, peppery with a sweet honeyed finish. The fully opened blossoms are very soft, but the tighter newly opened buds offer a pleasant crunchy texture.
Broccoli flowers are available in summer and fall.
Botanically known as Brassica oleracea, broccoli is a biennial cruciferous vegetable in the Brassicaceae family. Among its relatives are cabbage, turnips, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and kale. The flowers in this family are all identifiable by a distinct “cross” shape, which is where the family gets its other name, Cruciferae. The entire head of broccoli can be considered a flower itself, consisting of tiny compacted buds which form its florets. Each bud will eventually open to reveal small yellow blossom, that if fertilized will mature into a broccoli seed.
Broccoli flowers are commonly found amongst the still closed buds of the broccoli head. They may be removed and eaten raw by themselves or used with the stalks and florets as a salad or in a broccoli pesto. Blossoms may also be lightly cooked on the stalk, but are fragile and will begin to wilt. Barely opened buds with just a touch of the yellow petals emerging are sturdier and can stand up to more heat. Their peppery bite balances the richness of cheese and smoked meats, and adds spice to green salads. Broccoli flowers pair with cheese (cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss), garlic, lemon, mustard, bacon, ham, onion, leek, hollandaise sauce, red pepper flakes, anchovies and capers.
Broccoli is native to Europe and today is cultivated world-wide. It is a cool weather crop that thrives in spring and fall and requires full sun and moist soils with slight acidity. Flowers are available after the plant bolts, usually during the warmer months of summer.
Recipes that include Broccoli Flowers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Food Blogga||Mizuna and Broccoli Flower Salad|
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