What is Purple Sprouting Broccoli?

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Hello Veggie Lover! I was recently in the UK visiting family and eating a ton of wonderful food. While there, I was lucky enough to try all sorts of new things, including Purple Sprouting Broccoli which is what I’m going to tell you about today.

purple broccoli 2

Have you ever heard the words “Purple Sprouting?” I heard them for the first time yesterday when my mother-in-law returned from the supermarket and started unpacking produce. My father-in-law, who had spent the afternoon poaching several different kinds of fish, exclaimed, “Oh good. We’ll have purple sprouting with our fish pie!”

I thought I must have heard wrong. “Purple sprouting? What on earth?” I nudged my way in to see and to make sure that my visions of something purple growing and taking over our table were not accurate.

And what I saw was definitely purple food.

Purple and green, actually.

It turns out that Purple Sprouting is short for Purple Sprouting Broccoli. It’s a cousin of regular broccoli that looks a bit like broccolini with its long thin stems, florets and leaves. But with Purple Sprouting Broccoli the florets are purple. Really purple.

When they’re cooked (you steam or boil them just until tender, a few minutes) the florets lose their shocking color, unfortunately. But they do taste wonderful. They’re more flavorful than regular broccoli but not cabbagey. If anything I’d say they’re sweeter.

Why am I telling you all about this British vegetable? When I posted a picture of Purple Sprouting Broccoli on Instagram and Twitter yesterday, several people remarked that they’d either seen it or bought it at North American farmer’s markets. I’m therefore hopeful that this delicate veg will be making its way to a farmer’s market near me (and near you) very soon. If you see it, be sure to buy some and give it a try. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

If you do find some, you can steam it or boil it just until a bit tender. My father-in-law says you can also stir-fry it. Or you can try out one of these delicious-sounding Purple Sprouting Broccoli recipes.

In the meantime, we can continue cooking up delicious traditional broccoli dishes, right? I love this whole roasted broccoli recipe:

Oven Roasted Broccoli Recipe

 

2 Responses to “What is Purple Sprouting Broccoli?”

  1. phyllis — November 11, 2013 @ 12:56 pm (#)

    Haven’t seen it here, but will ask our produce manager if they can bring it in and give it a try.

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