Broccoli Raab is a very interesting vegetable, most commonly used in Italian and Chinese Cuisine. Even though its name includes broccoli it is more closely related to mustards and turnips with bitter flavored leaves and flowers, sharper than the traditional broccoli.
You may have never heard of this plant before. That's not uncommon though as it isn't very common to North American cuisine.
Even though this vegetable is used for cooking there isn’t nearly as much information out there about it as say, tomatoes. So we are here to help you understand what it is and why you might be interested in growing it.
Broccoli Rapini isn’t it's only name. Itis recognized by several names including: Broccoli rabe, rapa, rapine, rappi, rappone, fall and spring raab, runip broccoli, taitcat, Italian or Chinese Broccoli, broccoli rape, broccoli de rabe, Italian turnip, and turnip broccoli. In Italy it is commonly known as Broccoli Asparago.
Broccoli Raab is recognized by its lack of a central head while still developing floweretts with a very similar appearance to broccoli, giving it this misleading name. Unlike the broccoli you are familiar with, Broccoli Rapini is mostly grown for the foliage which is high in vitamins A, C, K, and potassium.
It should be harvested just as the flower buds form, or as a microgreen. Harvesting as soon as the buds are forming is important as this plant will bolt quickly. For a harvest throughout the season, make successive plantings.
Planning ahead is important as these leaves do not keep for more than 1-2 weeks after being cut. The ideal seasons for these plants are fall to spring as they also favor the cooler temperatures.
To Cook Broccoli Raab:
- Cut off the bottom of the stems
- Cut stalks crosswise into 2 inch pieces
- Boil for 1-2 minutes
- Saute in olive oil 3-5 minutes
- You may also prepare it in a stir-fry or steamed