Joyce and Rita stopped by the other day and Rita kindly "volunteered" to pose for photos to show you all how to pick Broccoli.
NOTE: There are photos with Rita's hands and photos with my hands...you can easily tell the difference:
Rita's hands are beautifully manicured complete with fingernail polish and she's wearing "hip" jewelry on her arm. My hands on the other hand.....Whoa! sorry about the dirty fingernails!
HOW TO PICK BROCCOLI
1. Select a mature Broccoli head. Broccoli heads range from 3-9 inches across depending on the variety, so it's very important that you know how to tell if a head is mature or not.
A Broccoli head is made up of many, many, tiny green flower buds, and each bud will eventually open up into a yellow flower. A Broccoli head starts out very small with TIGHT buds. The head is hard and the buds can not be squeezed together....
....or pulled apart.
Although this Broccoli head is perfectly edible it is not mature and it would be a crying shame to pick it. If it's left on the plant it will continue to grow and get significantly larger.
A mature Broccoli head has buds that are plump and loose. You should be able to see a few buds that look like they could open up into flowers at any time.
....and pull them apart.
NOTE: Broccoli heads that have bloomed are perfectly edible and really quite pretty, but the longer they bloom the tougher they get.
2. To harvest a Broccoli head it is best to use a serrated knife. Cut the stem at a fairly sharp angle just below the head to allow the rain to run off the stump easily to try to prevent the stem from splitting and rotting.
3. Many people do not realize that after a Broccoli head is harvested the plant will continue to produce numerous side-shoots called "sprouts".
You can harvest sprouts with a serrated knife....
Or by carefully snapping them off with your fingers....
4. Broccoli is $5.00 for a large head or a green plastic strawberry crate full of sprouts.
NOTE: Broccoli leaves are also edible and can be used just like Kale!