FoodLink - Purdue Extension


Brassica oleracea
Available from May to October


Broccoli may be sold in bunches of one or more large heads, as smaller heads (or "side-shoots"), or in bags of florets cut from larger heads.

There are different types of broccoli: annual green (or more rarely, purple) “heading” broccoli;
“romanesco,” which has yellowish green, conical groups of buds arranged in spirals.


This video shows you how to cut broccoli.

Wash under cool running water to remove any dirt before using. Cut off leaves and any woody spots.

Raw: Cut each head into small florets. Peel the large round stem with a paring knife and make sticks with the stem as you would with carrots or celery. 

Steam on Stovetop: Trim broccoli into smaller florets and place in a steamer basket. Bring water to a boil.  Steam broccoli covered for about 4 minutes. Broccoli should be bright green and tender (not wilting).

Steam in Microwave: Trim broccoli and place small florets in a microwave safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the bowl and cover with moist paper towel. Cook for about 2 minutes until bright green and tender.

Cook Frozen Broccoli: Place frozen broccoli in saucepan with about 2-3 inches of water in the bottom. As water begins to boil, immediately remove the pan from the burner. Drain the water from the pan and serve.

Sauté: Cut into small florets and sauté on medium heat with olive oil or butter until broccoli is tender when poked with a fork. To quicken the cooking process, add a few tablespoons of water and cover with a lid. Add other vegetables to the skillet such as peppers, onions, zucchini, or carrots to make a stir fry. Season with soy sauce to taste.

Roast: Heat the oven to 350°F. Cut and trim the broccoli into desired sizes. Toss with olive oil and salt in a bowl and spread broccoli on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 20-25 minutes, watching carefully so the tops of the florets do not burn. 


Short-Term Storage

Wash broccoli and store it in a plastic bag with a damp cloth in the refrigerator. Broccoli will last 5-6 days (discard once if it smells bad, is yellow, or is slimy).

Tip: Once you return from the market, cut the heads into smaller spears to make preparation and storage easier.

Long-Term Storage

Broccoli will last  3-4 months in the freezer.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Quick Fact

Broccoli comes in a variety of colors ranging from deep sage all the way to dark green and purplish green.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 Bunch (608g)







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat



















 4 mg








Vitamin A

 188 mg


Vitamin C

542 mg 








Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

Broccoli is in the Brassica family. Related vegetables include: arugula, Brussels sproutscabbage (all types), cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rutabaga, turnip, horseradish, collards, and watercress.

You can grow broccoli in your garden from transplants. In spring, plant transplants 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date. Planting can continue into April, even through May in the coldest part of the state. If growing from seed, start indoors 5-7 weeks earlier.

For a fall harvest, plant transplants about 70 days before the average first frost date. Seeds can
be planted outdoors 4-6 weeks earlier. No matter the season, broccoli grows best if it can mature
when air temperatures are somewhat warm but not hot (less than 80°F). Broccoli is very frost
tolerant. Mature plants can survive temperatures down to 25°F, perhaps lower with protection.

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