What's in season: A member of the cabbage family, broccoli gets its name from the Italian word for "cabbage sprout" and is related to other cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. While broccoli is commonly known for its thick, tree-like stems ending in tightly closed, blue-green buds, variations include slender-stemmed Chinese broccoli (gai lan); broccolini or "baby broccoli," a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale; as well as broccoli rabe or rapini, which is related to both the cabbage and turnip families. The vegetable is typically in season from late fall through the winter months.
What to cook: If the stem is thick and woody, peel the outer skin before using. Add shredded raw stems or chopped florets to slaws or salads. Sauté broccoli, cooking the vegetable to bring out its emerald green hue alongside simple flavorings such as chile flakes, garlic or butter, or incorporate in a simple stir-fry. Or cook broccoli longer, bringing out its sweet notes as part of a simple soup or stew. Roast or grill larger florets until softened and charred for an easy side dish.
What's on the horizon: Meyer lemons, known for their softer acidity and floral notes, are showing up, as are pomelos and a number of varieties of grapefruit, including cocktail, ruby red and oro blanco.