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Harvesting Broccoli And Cauliflower

by Jack Grover
Reading time: 13 min Prefer to listen?

Harvesting your own broccoli and cauliflower is an easy and rewarding experience. Not only will you get to enjoy the delicious taste and numerous health benefits of these nutritious vegetables, but planting them in your garden is also a smart choice.

What’s the secret to mastering the art of harvesting broccoli and cauliflower? How do you know when it’s the perfect time to harvest these nutritious delights? 

Don’t worry, dear gardeners, we’re here to help you navigate this delicious journey. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of harvesting broccoli and cauliflower, ensuring that your garden becomes a bountiful paradise for all cruciferous lovers. 

Harvesting your own broccoli and cauliflower provides you with the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables. 

With the right knowledge and techniques, growing your own broccoli and cauliflower will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Key Takeaways

  • To harvest broccoli, look for large, firm heads with tight edges. Use a knife or snap off the stalk to remove the crown.
  • For storing broccoli, loosely wrap it in a plastic bag and refrigerate in the coolest part.
  • To harvest cauliflower, choose large and firm flower heads. Cut or snap off the stem to harvest.
  • Store cauliflower by wrapping it in a damp cloth or paper towel, then sealing it in a partially open freezer bag.
  • Try different varieties to find the ones that thrive in your climate and conditions.
  • Proper storage ensures the freshness and nutrition of your harvested vegetables.

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

Harvesting Broccoli

Harvesting broccoli is a delicate process that requires attention to detail. When it comes time to pick, the heads should be large, green, and firm. Gently press your fingers against the head – it should feel tight and solid.

The optimal time to harvest is when the broccoli heads are still fresh. At this point, the edges should be tight and not starting to yellow. If they are, it’s important to act quickly and not wait, as the flavor will start to diminish.

If you miss the harvest window, don’t worry. There’s still a chance you can save your crop. Consume it as soon as possible and don’t store it. If the head is already blooming, you can still leave it in the garden for pollinators to enjoy.

bunch of Broccoli

Photo by Çağlar Oskay on Unsplash

Getting The Broccoli

Start by using a sharp knife or your hands to gently remove the vibrant green crown of the broccoli from its sturdy stalk. 

You have two options for doing this: snap off the stalk about 5 inches down from the last crown buds or use a sharp knife to cut the crown off.

  • The snapping method is quick and easy, allowing you to harvest multiple crowns at once.
  • Meanwhile, the knife method requires more precision but ensures a clean cut.

Once you have removed the main head of buds, leave the remainder of the plant intact. This will allow small shoots to continue to form, giving you the opportunity to pick and consume fresh broccoli daily.

Enjoy your freshly harvested broccoli!

Storing Broccoli

Storing broccoli can be easy and ensures its freshness when done correctly. To get started, loosely wrap the broccoli in an unsealed plastic bag. 

This allows air to circulate and prevents the buildup of too much moisture. If the broccoli is wet, make sure to dry it off before storing it. Placing a paper towel around the broccoli can help absorb any additional moisture.

When it comes to refrigeration, it’s best to store the broccoli in the coolest part. This could be the back or crisper drawer of the refrigerator. 

If you have a large harvest that won’t be used within a week, freezing is an option. Start by rinsing and cutting the florets into small pieces. Give them a quick steam or blanch before freezing.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy fresh and delicious broccoli for weeks to come.

Broccoli in a plate beside a kitchen knife

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Harvesting Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a delicious and versatile vegetable to harvest. Look for large, full, and very firm crowns when harvesting.

The timing of the harvest will depend on the variety and color of the florets. Whether they’re classic white, purple, or gold, make sure to pick them up before they start to discolor or loosen. Compact and firm flower heads are ideal.

If you miss the harvest window and your cauliflower starts to bloom, it won’t be suitable for storage or freezing. But don’t worry – the taste won’t be affected too much if you catch it early. In this case, simply use the cauliflower right away.

If the blooms are full, leave them for the pollinators to enjoy before adding them to your compost pile.

Getting The Cauliflower

You can snap off the stem of the cauliflower about 5 inches down from the crown’s last buds or use a sharp knife to cut the entire crown away from the plant. Both methods will ensure a continuous supply of delicious florets.

When snapping off the stem, you’re removing only the main compact head of buds. This allows smaller shoots to continue forming, so you can enjoy cauliflower for many meals to come. 

If you choose to cut away the crown, you’ll be encouraging new growth.

Whatever method you use, harvesting cauliflower is a great way to provide yourself with a nutritious and delicious vegetable. It’s an easy way to ensure you and your family have a continuous supply of fresh cauliflower.

Storing Cauliflower

Storing cauliflower correctly is key to preserving its freshness. Follow these simple steps to ensure your cauliflower is good for up to two weeks.

Start by keeping the cauliflower head intact. Handle it with care, as it is delicate. Wrap it in a clean, damp cloth or paper towel to maintain the right humidity. This will stop it from drying out too quickly.

Put the cauliflower in a sealed freezer bag, but leave the seal slightly open. This allows some airflow while protecting the cauliflower from external elements.

Check on your cauliflower regularly and remove any pieces that show signs of spoilage or decay.

By doing this, you can enjoy fresh and delicious cauliflower for a long time.

Benefits Of Planting Broccoli And Cauliflower In Your Garden

Growing your own broccoli and cauliflower is a rewarding and satisfying experience. Not only do these cruciferous vegetables provide nutritional value, but they also bring joy to your garden.

These vegetables are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a key part of a healthy diet. 

When you grow them in your own backyard, you can be sure that no pesticides or chemicals are used. Plus, having them right in your garden encourages you to include them in your meals more often.

Cultivating broccoli and cauliflower can also be a calming and enjoyable activity. Getting down in the dirt and tending to the plants gives you a chance to connect with nature and reap the rewards of homegrown, fresh produce.

So why not give it a try? Planting and harvesting your own broccoli and cauliflower is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take control of your nutrition.

green Broccoli

Photo by Hans Ripa on Unsplash

Cauliflower And Broccoli Suggested Varieties

Cauliflower and broccoli are attractive additions to the garden. 


For a unique look, try the ‘Mulberry Hybrid’ cauliflower with its deep purple heads. The ‘Early White Hybrid’ is a classic, with 8-9 inch white heads that mature within 52 days.

‘Flame Star Hybrid’ stands out with its yellowish orange heads. The ‘Snowball’ variety produces tight clusters of white buds. 

For a showstopper, plant the ‘Cheddar Hybrid’ for its bright orange heads that look like cheddar cheese.


When choosing a broccoli variety, ‘Blue Wind’ is an early maturing option, with heads ready in 45 days. The ‘DiCicco’ heirloom Italian type is another quick-producer with compact blueish-green heads. 

For larger crowns, try ‘Belstar,’ which takes 66 days to mature and has dark green florets. ‘Imperial’ is heat-resistant and delicious, while ‘Sun King’ produces smaller, blueish-green florets. For colder months, choose ‘Marathon’ for its dense florets that don’t tolerate heat well.


Harvesting broccoli and cauliflower is a rewarding experience for any gardener. When planting these vegetables, you should choose varieties that are best suited to your climate. If you’re growing them in the summer, look for a variety that’s heat-tolerant. In the cooler months, opt for a cold-hardy variety.

Once your vegetables are harvested, it’s important to store them properly. Keep the broccoli and cauliflower in a cool, dry place. This will help them stay fresh and nutritious for longer. If you plan on eating them right away, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

The effort you put into planting and harvesting broccoli and cauliflower will pay off. With a little bit of care and attention, you can enjoy the fresh taste of these nutritious vegetables all season.

So go ahead and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

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