What is Purple Sprouting Broccoli?

It may look like a purple cauliflower but it’s really a purple sprouting broccoli. What really is this type of broccoli? How does it look like? Where did it come from and how does one use it in a dish?

As its name suggests, purple sprouting broccoli has a color purple head. But it’s only purple when it’s fresh. Once cooked, it immediately turns green.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that it resembles a cauliflower. Both vegetable come from the same cruciferous family, so they are indeed closely related.

Purple sprouting broccoli has originally been cultivated by the Romans. It was introduced in the United Kingdom since the early 18th century but has not gained popularity until the last thirty years or so. This prominence can be accounted for its mild, tasty flavor which complements salads, quiches, pasta bakes, stir-fries and other dishes.

Aside from being attractive and delicious, purple sprouting is also very nutritious. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and A, carotenoids, calcium, folic acid, iron, fiber and other nutrients.

Most importantly, studies show that it contains a phyto-chemical called sulphoraphane which is believed to help prevent cancer and resistance against heart diseases, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Most parts of purple sprouting broccoli are edible – heads, stalks and leaves. They are especially delicious when they’re young as its texture is still very tender.

Choose a purple sprouting broccoli with stalks that’s just about one centimeter in diameter and no more. The heads should be darkly colored and the stalks shouldn’t be droopy. This is how you can be sure you are choosing the best and freshest purple broccoli.