Is broccolini the new kale? For a while, kale was the must-eat food that was on every shopping list. The trendy green crossed over from being a healthy superfood to a grocery luxury that anyone could incorporate into their meals.
In the past decade, it’s become a precious commodity, and 2012 was the height of its popularity. The US Department of Agriculture noted that year that kale production had increased 60 per cent since 2007. Bon Appétit magazine anointed 2012 as the “year of kale” and Time magazine included it on its list of top 10 food trends.
But in the past couple of years, a new trendy vegetable has entered the scene. Broccolini is suddenly the hottest green. With a long stalk, it was developed in the late 90s with the goal of combining the crunchy stem of asparagus with broccoli’s attractive florets. What was actually used in the crossbreeding was Chinese broccoli, known locally as gai lan.
One industry survey noted its yearly consumption growth rate has increased to 30 per cent, meaning a lot of people are starting to discover broccolini. In recent months, I’ve seen this hybrid ingredient – its producers are adamant it was developed but is not genetically modified – on a lot more menus and at markets.
We should also keep an eye on two even lesser known hybrid greens: kalettes (little bulbs of Brussels sprouts with kale leaves) and caulilini (cauliflower with the slender stems to broccolini) seem like sure bets for high-end store shelves. They are expected to challenge kale and broccolini in our salads pretty soon.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com