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What is jacket broccoli?

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My local Whole Foods has been advertising "jacket broccoli" for weeks now and to me it looks like broccoli without the long stalks trimmed but is this a different species. Google has failed me in understanding why this broccoli has been put front and center.

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  1. What did the produce clerk say?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Uncle Bob

      He had no idea, though we often miscommunicate over Shiitake vs Maitake so I didn't expect much enlightenment :)

    2. If it's like the reference to the prep both fluffy & crips topped ie: treatment of jacket potatoes then it would be broccoli heads used for specific recipes that feature just the tops and offered to consumers this way for ease of use; often at greater prices. I've never seen the term jacket broccoli at WF but I've seen the term and am familiar with the description/words:
      jacket potato.


      2 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Yea I understand the jacket potato but not the broccoli. Here is a picture

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I still think the use of the word jacket is just a description to the fluffy tops. I'd love to know if it's more than that. A call to WF's is easy enough, it's their sign.

      2. It refers to the leaves that surround the crown\head. Usually with broccoli, you see it with these leaves removed. You will also see the same term for Cauliflower, and the leaves that surround the crown\head are more often present in the market.

        15 Replies
        1. re: mike0989

          Thanks and yes occasionally I'll get a head of broccoli with some leaves but cauliflower seems to have them more often. Is there any reason why you'd prefer it with the leaves?

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            If you're the Retailer and you sell it by the pound, leaving the leaves makes sense. They have no culinary value that I know of.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I really like the leaves, and when I'm shopping at Farmer's markets I look for the vendors who leave them on. One of my favorite ways of preparing broccoli (cauliflower too) is to cut it a little over bite-size, steam it until just tender, then toss it with butter and salt and spread it into a gratin dish. I finish it by grating some cheese over it and giving it about 20 minutes in the oven, and I use any leaves I might have to dress up the presentation.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Wow that recipe sounds wonderful. I am a true broccoli fan and love it prepared simply which is why steamed broccoli usually appears in my egg breakfasts.

            2. re: mike0989

              Interesting. I couldn't see enough close up detail in the photo to see there were leaves but I have never run across this name for broccoli.

              Is it new?

              1. re: HillJ

                I suspect it's just a realitively new way of shipping\Marketing it.

                1. re: mike0989

                  My inclination was not to bother with all those surrounding stems. They're quite fibrous.
                  Would not want to pay by the pound for them.

                  1. re: monavano

                    The stems, for my money, are actually the best and tastiest part of the broccoli. But they have to be peeled with a vegetable peeler, as one would a potato. Once you get rid of the fibrous green part, the remaining white part is great. In fact, I don't get much of it because she who must be obeyed likes it so much so she gets it. Oddly, we have also recently acquired a couple of young dogs who love the raw peels, so that takes care of that.

                    1. re: johnb

                      I agree, johnb,and love and use stems, but these particular suckers were fibrous through and through.
                      And there were A LOT of them.
                      The real stem (the ones attached to the florets) to floret ratio was terrific, though.

                      1. re: johnb

                        I like the stems too and was so disappointed last week I decided to toss peeled stems into my frittata since so is away and he hates them and they turned to mush. Should I leave them as is if being baked?

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I really don't know, since I've never tried that, but I wonder if any amount of heat application would ever soften those exterior fibers.

                          1. re: johnb

                            Oh I was referring to the general stalks and why they turned mushy seemed odd to me, given the florets were still tender crisp

                        2. re: johnb

                          We've taken the idea from our local Asian restaurant and pickled the stems in rice vinegar and then served them with toasted dark sesame oil, very nice use for the stems.

                          1. re: johnb

                            I like the stems too. I usually peel, then matchstick the stem and use it in fried rice. Adds nice crunch.

                            I'll try the peels out on my little omnivores.

                    2. re: mike0989

                      I think it's more the abundant fibrous stems vs. the leaves. My broccoli usually has some leaves, but never all those stems. See below for a recent account...

                    3. Interestingly, I just recently bought field-fresh broccoli from a NJ farm, and that's exactly what it looked like. The outer stems were abundant and made the head look huge.
                      The outer stems seemed very fibrous, so I just tossed them.
                      I thought the broccoli looked a bit different because it was fresh from the farm.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: monavano

                        Did they call it jacket broccoli? Did it taste any different to you?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          It was just called broccoli, noted to be fresh and local and it tasted like... broccoli ;-)

                          1. re: monavano

                            Okay, thanks. Wasn't sure if I was missing out on some new cross breed vegetable...we can't have that now!!

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I think of a more formal dinner when a "jacket" is involved.

                              1. re: Tripeler

                                Cute, T.

                      2. I guess my hunch that it's just less trimmed broccoli is correct. It'll be interesting to check the price vs. the regular stock of broccoli.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          The head that I recently bought was by the head, not by the pound.

                        2. Were you in the whole foods at union square nyc too?? :)
                          As far as i can tell its the exact same as the same looking broccoli that i purchased at the farmers market in salinas, ca (where most of the us broccoli is grown) the long stems can of course be peeled and chopped and the leaves i have tossed in soups, but it really is just a dramatic presentation as far as i can tell-i would buy it per pc but not per lb since most of the outer stalks are too tough for anything

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            Baltimore, but I think the East Coast stores run similar sales and specials and perhaps also source from similar places.

                          2. How did the price compare to broccoli with stems and broccoli heads?

                            The inventing of new names to justify higher prices rankles me, I'm just sayin'.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tcamp

                              I plan to check today. I just got an email about the deal and wondered what it was exactly.

                            2. Not really a fair comparison but -

                              The jacket broccoli was $1.79/lb - local, conventional vs. regular store broccoli $1.99/lb - organic. The jacket broccoli is still piled in a heap and now $0.79/lb.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                Sometimes you can be "over dressed" for any occasion :)

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  For 79cents/lb i would totally buy it! I bet you could use the thick inedible stalks in a veg broth for future soup-making.
                                  I'm super jealous of your prices- conventional broccoli here is usually $2/lb and organic $3/lb or so, aka really easy to pay $6 for a normal sized bunch of broccoli.....(!)

                                2. And there's another unusual variety- purse broccoli.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                    How stylish!