Purple Broccoli

While on the topic of purple “mutants” (see previous entry on purple beans), aapbrocI figured I might as well post this out of season photo of a stunning head of purple broccoli. For the past 3-4 years, I always get surprised when a market vendor stocks purple broccoli which tends to appear during the cold months of December-February. Some vendors say this is purple cauliflower, others broccoli and my books say it is essentially a variety of broccoli, somewhat related to purple sprouting broccoli which has much smaller florets and seems to be a native of Italy or thereabouts. Cookbooks always warn you that the color will turn green when the vegetable is cooked but when I added it to a “12 vegetable soup” in little tiny florets, they retained much of the purple color though in a lighter shade…it really made for a colorful and unusual soup. It is not often that you find this vegetable in Manila (it is typically grown in Benguet and surrounding areas) and I encourage all of you to try it if you see it.


8 Responses

  1. This is very popular here in Athens, exactly the same taste as the sprouting brocolli. But not exactly this shade of purple, darker but the stems are green. I will just send you an email once I find this at the local market but you
    have to wait till autumn.

    We just steam it and served either with lemon and olive oil
    or steam then bake briefly either with bechamel or just cheese.

    Hmmm am thinking of brocolli soup with STILTON!

  2. I’ve seen purple beans but this is the first time I’ve seen purple broccoli. Amazing! But is it really a broccoli? ‘Coz the florets seems to be too packed together like a cauliflower.

  3. hmmm… that looks a lot like the Graffiti cauliflower I tried to grow this year. “tried” because the rabbits keep getting to the little seedlings before i do. grrrr

  4. Yes, the florets are extremely tightly formed, more akin to cauliflower and some vendors do say this is purple cauliflower, but if you look it up in the reference books… the story gets more complicated: cauliflower (Brassica oliracea, Botrytis group) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea, Cymosa group)are both members of the cabbage family and are very closely related. Both are formed when flowers form on the “cabbage” plant but for some reason stop at the bud stage. Botanists have great difficulty differentiating between a cauliflower and a broccoli. Having said that, the tighter heads of buds argue for a more purple “cauliflower” description while the color and botanical police would push for a more purple “broccoli” description. It is posited that broccoli came first, then mutants formed cauliflower so basically, EVERYONE is probably partially correct!!! How’s that for Marketman wiggling himself out of a thorny issue??? Enjoy your purple cauliflower or broccoli. Thanks for being so vigilant!

  5. This is the first time I’ve seen one, too, but since I am a big fan of broccoli, I’ll certainly give that purple one a try.

  6. looks like more of purple cauliflower to me… by the way,what does it taste like? broccoli or cauliflower?

  7. I would have to say it tastes closer to cauliflower or perhpas its just the texture that is the defining factor… the heads are much tighter than green broccoli…



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