Growing and harvesting your own crops is incredibly rewarding and when it comes to broccoli, that is no exception.
If you’ve managed to grow some healthy broccoli, you’ll now be asking yourself how you can properly harvest it.
Luckily, we’ve got the answer for you in this helpful guide. We’ll look at how and when you should harvest broccoli and the signs to look for when it’s ready to do so.
Read on for more!
How Do I Know When Broccoli Is Ready To Harvest?
There are several signs that broccoli is ready to harvest. They include:
The Head And Head Size
The most obvious sign that broccoli is ready to harvest is that it has a head. You’ll notice it is strong and firm. If it isn’t, then it’s not yet ready.
The head size, when it is time to harvest broccoli, will be about 4 to 7 inches wide.
Although these points are good indicators, they aren’t clear cut guarantees that the broccoli is ready to be harvested, so you must look at the rest.
The Floret Size
The floret sizes individually need to be about the same size as the tip of a match. If you can see this, you’ve got the best indicator that the broccoli is ready for harvest.
The color you’re looking for with broccoli is a strong, deep green.
If however, you notice small yellow features – it needs to be harvested straight away because it might be a sign that it’s blooming/about to bolt.
How Exactly Do You Harvest Broccoli?
Once you’ve established that your broccoli is ready to harvest, you now can start the process. You’ll need to use a sharp knife and cut off the broccoli’s head.
The head stem should next be cut, which is about 5 inches below the head. Always try to remove it with a sharp and swift movement to avoid a sawn stem.
Sawn stems will cause problems for future harvesting.
Next, turn your attention to the side-shoots and cut them off. This should be a simpler task than the head.
How To Properly Store Your Harvested Broccoli
After cutting off the broccoli’s head, you’ll want to store it in an airtight container or bag.
Make sure that you don’t put any plastic bags around it because this could lead to the growth of bacteria. Instead, opt for glass containers or Ziploc bags.
Make sure you keep the broccoli stored in a cool place such as a refrigerator. The ideal temperature would be between 50°F and 60°F.
How Long Does Broccoli Last?
You can expect to have fresh broccoli for up to 3 weeks if you follow our tips above. However, if you’ve been growing broccoli from seed, then it may last longer.
It all depends on how much sunlight your plants get and whether or not they are exposed to direct sun.
If you notice your broccoli is spoiled, you should dispose of it in an eco-friendly way. You can do this by utilizing a compost heap.
Do not eat spoiled broccoli as you may get symptoms of food poisoning like:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle aches and weakness
Why Grow Broccoli?
Broccoli is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It requires little maintenance and produces plenty of leaves. As well as being easy to grow, it also provides many health benefits. These include:
- Boosting Brain Function
- Reducing Cancer Risk
- Helping Prevent Heart Disease
- Improving Digestion
- Reducing Cholesterol Levels
- Stimulating Weight Loss
- Allowing Blood Pressure To Be Lower
- Being Good For Skin Health
Growing Tips For Broccoli
If you’ve had trouble getting to the point of harvesting your broccoli, consider following these tips.
Choose Healthy Soil
Soil plays a huge role in determining the quality of your broccoli. In order to ensure that your soil has enough nutrients, make sure you add some organic matter (such as manure) to it.
Also, make sure that your soil isn’t too wet or dry.
When growing broccoli, you’ll find that it takes time before you see results. The first year that you plant broccoli seeds, you won’t likely see anything come out of the ground until at least two years later.
That said, you shouldn’t give up hope just yet. If you’re patient, you’ll eventually reap the rewards of your hard work.
Keep Them Warm
To help your broccoli germinate, you should keep them warm. A good way to do this is to cover them with a thin layer of newspaper.
Once they sprout, you can move them into a greenhouse or other heated area.
It’s important to water your broccoli regularly so that it doesn’t wilt. When watering, use a fine spray rather than pouring water directly onto the soil. However, don’t over-water your broccoli!
What Are Some Great Recipes With Broccoli?
Here are some great recipes that will allow you to enjoy broccoli in its best form.
Roasted Broccoli Salad
This salad is perfect for those who love roasted vegetables. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of broccoli while adding a nice crunch.
Lasagna is another dish that works perfectly with broccoli. This recipe uses zucchini instead of pasta. This provides a different texture to the dish but still tastes delicious.
Green Beans And Broccoli Pasta
This dish combines green beans and broccoli in a creamy sauce. It’s a simple dish that makes a great side dish for any meal.
This dish is made using only three ingredients: broccoli, garlic, and olive oil. Sautéing allows the flavors of the broccoli to shine through.
The Bottom Line
Harvesting broccoli correctly means the difference between your hard work and patience paying off or being a complete waste of time and a failure.
Our tips should help you reach your goals and harvest your broccoli correctly, but always remember that it’s not usually going to be perfect for your first try.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll get it perfect each time and be able to make some of the most amazing dishes involving broccoli.