Once the leader spear of broccoli has grown you can harvest it. After that, all the other sprouts will start appearing in quick succession. So, if you’re growing this yummy veg in your garden, then don’t panic if it looks like it’s only growing one lonely little broccoli spear!
The way broccoli grows is to form a broccoli head at the top of the plant, and then to grow a series of broccoli spears from sideshoots. So, to harvest it, use a pair of secateurs or a sharp knife to cut off the first broccoli head that appears. Do this while the broccoli is still quite firm, before it opens into flower.
The plant will then start to produce lots of sideshoots. As they reach a harvestable size in the following days, cut them off, including about 10cm of stalk. Again, make sure you harvest them before they flower to keep the plant productive (you can always store them in the fridge for a few days if you don’t want to eat them immediately). You should get a good harvest for a few weeks.
Top tip – if you have had problems with caterpillars, and you’re worried a few may be hiding in the florets you can soak them in a bowl of warm water with a splash of white vinegar for 5-10 minutes before cooking. Any caterpillars hiding in the broccoli will float to the surface and you can cook your broccoli in confidence, and no, it won’t make your broccoli taste horribly vinegary!