Calabrese Originally brought to America by Italian immigrants around 1840. The standard home garden broccoli variety. Sturdy 24-30″ plants produce nice 4-8″ dark green central heads, followed by abundant side shoots. A great variety for home, market, fresh eating, canning or freezing.
Calabrese Broccoli History
Calabrese green sprouting broccoli, often referred to simply as “broccoli”, named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool-season annual crop, introduced to the seed trade around 1910, this variety was brought to our shores-and our gardens-by Italian immigrants. Sturdy 24-30″ plants produce nice 4-8″ dark green central heads, followed by abundant side shoots. A great broccoli variety for home, market, fresh eating, canning or freezing.
Growing Green Sprouting Calabrese Broccoli
Calabrese Broccoli is cool-season crop, so it should be planted in early spring or mid- to late summer for the best results. High mid-summer temperatures will stunt its growth, so the goal is to get broccoli to mature before or after high temperatures are expected. For spring plantings, broccoli may be started indoors or outdoors a few weeks ahead of your last spring frost date:
Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. Sow outdoors 2 to 3 weeks before your last frost date, or as soon as the soil can be worked. For fall plantings, sow seeds outdoors 85 to 100 days before the first fall frost, when soil and ambient temperatures are high. Or, start seeds in late May. Calabrese Broccoli requires a site with exposure to full sun (6 to 8 hours per day). Lack of sunlight may produce thin, leggy plants and subpar heads. Plant in a bed of moist, fertile soil that drains well. Soil pH should be slightly acidic, between 6.0 and 7.0. To increase fertility before you plant, in early spring, work in 2 to 4 inches of rich compost or a thin layer of manure.
If starting outdoors, sow seeds ½ inch deep and 3 inches apart. Once seedlings reach a height of 2 to 3 inches, thin them so that plants are 12 to 20 inches apart. If you started seeds indoors, plant transplants that are 4 to 6 weeks old (and have 4 or 5 leaves) outdoors, 12 to 20 inches apart, in holes slightly deeper than their container depth. Space rows of broccoli 3 feet apart. (Closer spacing yields smaller main heads but, more secondary heads.) For more tips, Click here.
Preserving And Storing Calabrese Broccoli
Store Calabrese broccoli by freezing it. First, you are going to blanch the broccoli. After that, you are going to put it in an ice bath. Finally, you can seal it up and put it in your freezer. However, frozen broccoli only lasts 3 months in the freezer. Click here to learn more.
Cooking With Broccoli
Broccoli is kind of straight forward. First you boil it. Then you add your seasonings. In addition, The Kitchn has 5 amazing ways to cook your broccoli.
Calabrese Broccoli is a good source of fiber and protein, and contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium as well as the vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid.
Other Broccoli Variations Worth Checking Out