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Rapini is botanically a kind of non-heading broccoli, and it looks much like tiny bunches of broccoli on long stems nestled among large spiky leaves. The stems are a reddish-purple color and the leaves and florets are usually green, but may occasionally have a tinge of burgundy as well. The florets eventually open to reveal small yellow flowers which have a bold peppery bite of mustard. Purple rapini has a pungent-bitter taste that becomes even stronger with maturity. It is best when cooked to bring out its hidden sweetness and mellow its peppery bite.
Purple rapini is available year-round, with peak season during summer and fall.
Purple rapini is a member of the Mustard family and a subspecies of green rapini or broccoli rabe. It is botanically known as Brassica rapa and in China it is called Kailaan or Hon Tsai Tai. It may be used interchangeably with green rapini and keeps its purple color when cooked. This Purple rapini comes from Sage Mountain farms near Hemet, CA.