A cruciferous vegetable purple sprouting broccoli has a number of important health benefits. It contains the phytochemical sulphoraphane (thought to help prevent cancer) and also may provide resistance to heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Purple sprouting broccoli is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of *carotenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A.
*carotenoids are antioxidants, and are helpful for protecting vision and combating cellular damage. Recent studies have also identified carotenoids as paramount supporters for the cardiovascular system and male reproductive health.
Available from January and at it’s best in February, March and April, purple sprouting broccoli is coming to the end of its season. Initially cultivated by the Romans, broccoli has been grown in the UK since the early 18th century however the purple sprouting variety has only risen to prominence in the last 30 years.
Purple sprouting broccoli is especially good when young and tender. Look for darkly coloured specimens with crisp stalks, no bigger than 1cm in diameter, which snap cleanly when broken. It will store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Avoid bendy broccoli!
Split thicker stalks about halfway up so that they cook at the same time as the heads. Steam, stir-fry or boil in a small amount of water. The leaves are tasty and edible so don’t remove them.
Recipe suggestions can be found on a separate blog