Tenderstem broccoli is a hybrid of Chinese kale and broccoli which was first introduced in Japan in 1993. Chinese kale is a leafy brassica with long stems that it lent to the broccoli, resulting in a broccoli floret with a stem that is totally edible, even when raw. As a hybrid of two superfoods, tenderstem is high in folic acid and vitamins A and C – gram for gram it contains more vitamin C than oranges.
Originally tenderstem was grown in warmer climates such as Kenya and Guatemala, however, in 2010 farmers began to grown it in milder regions of the British Isles – fifty per cent of the tenderstem broccoli consumed in the UK now comes from Hampshire and West Sussex. It is harvested from June until November with the peak of the season falling in September.
When buying tenderstem broccoli look for firm stems and crisp florets. It will keep in the fridge for up to five days but is best eaten within two days of purchase.