A vegetable consisting of green clusters of buds, known as florets, which grow on a thick leafy stalk. This vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and is one of the most versatile of vegetables grown. It is readily available all year, it is easy to cook and is low in cost. The leaf, stalk and florets can be eaten raw or used in a wide variety of salads, side dishes and main dishes. Several common varieties of broccoli include: sprouting (also called calabrese), baby, asparagus or Italian, Chinese sprouting (also called Chinese Kale or Gaii Lan), purple, Romanesco, and broccoflower. When selecting, buy broccoli that is dark green in color (Romanesco and broccoflower excluded, each being lighter green in color) and very firm.