Broccoli is a cruciferous member of the cabbage family– it enjoys cool weather and it blooms into a single large head surrounded by a cocoon of leaves. It is extremely good for you, and is so hearty that it can take the stage as a center-of-the-plate item for a meatless dinner.
To store, simply give it a good rinse and blot dry, then store in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for a few days.
If you know it’s going to be a bit till you can get to it, prepare it for freezing:
First, chop the head off of the stalk. Peel off any tough, outer skin from the larger florets and strip it off the stalk as well. Cut broccoli florets to all generally the same size, and the stalk into regular “batons,” to borrow a word from Tara Duggan’s Root to Stalk, and blanch: dunk into boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then ice water for 2-3 minutes.
Don’t toss those stems or leaves! Broccoli stems, once peeled, are a delicious base for broccoli soup, shredded into a slaw, or can be tossed in oil and roasted. Broccoli leaves can be cooked like any other green– kale, collards, or even some of the more rubber-like cabbage leaves. Blanched, sautéed, or braised, they harbor a wealth of nutrients.