Where to Find and Purchase Delicious Romanesco

Romanesco is an eye-catching, chartreuse-colored variant of cauliflower that offers a buttery, nutty taste and texture. Its fractal, spiral shaped florets make it one of the most visually stunning vegetables you can add to your plate.

If you’re looking to try this vegetable for the first time or find the best source for fresh romanesco in your area, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about where to buy romanesco.

What is Romanesco?

Romanesco is an Italian variant of cauliflower with its own unique appearance and flavor. Like cauliflower, broccoli, and other brassicas, romanesco is a cool weather crop in the Brassicaceae family.

It features lime green florets arranged in a distinct spiral pattern that forms peaks and valleys reminiscent of a pinecone. The spirals follow the Golden Ratio or Fibonacci sequence in math creating a natural fractal pattern you won’t find in other vegetables.

In terms of taste and texture, romanesco is more similar to cauliflower than broccoli, with a mild, nutty, and buttery flavor when cooked. The florets have a firm, crunchy texture raw but become tender when cooked.

Romanesco contains many of the same nutrients as other brassica vegetables and provides an excellent source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants

Where to Buy Romanesco

Romanesco can be purchased from several sources, depending on what’s available in your area:

Grocery Stores

Many large grocery stores and supermarket chains carry romanesco, usually in the produce section alongside other fresh vegetables. It may be labeled as “romanesco,” “Romanesco broccoli,” or “Roman cauliflower.”

Some stores place it in the specialty produce area since it’s not as common as regular cauliflower. Check the shelves near the organic produce for the best chance of finding romanesco heads.

Farmers Markets

Visiting local farmers markets is one of the best ways to find freshly harvested, seasonal romanesco. Farmers who grow romanesco will typically bring it to market during the cooler months when it’s in season.

Talk to vendors to find out when their peak season for romanesco is so you can plan to shop during those months. Farmers markets also let you buy produce directly from the source.

CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)

Joining a local CSA program gets you regular deliveries of fresh produce straight from area farms. Romanesco is sometimes included in CSA boxes depending on what vegetables each farm offers.

Check the product list for farms you’re considering to see if they grow romanesco. You may be able to request it be added to your deliveries during peak season. Buying through a CSA supports small local agriculture.

Online Ordering and Delivery

For added convenience, you can order romanesco online through grocery delivery services like Instacart and AmazonFresh. They source fresh produce from local stores so you can shop for romanesco without leaving home.

Delivery windows vary by service and location. Order 1-2 days ahead to increase chances of getting fresh in-season romanesco. Online ordering lets you easily find and purchase romanesco even if your local markets don’t carry it.

When is Romanesco in Season?

Romanesco follows a seasonal growing pattern like other cool weather produce. It reaches peak season in most regions during the fall months. The exact harvest times can vary:

  • Early fall: September – October is when most areas begin harvesting romanesco. Early season produce may start showing up at farmers markets and grocery stores.

  • Mid fall: October – November is typically the height of romanesco season with plenty of availability from local farms.

  • Late fall: Late November – December is the best time to find deals on romanesco as the season winds down. Supply becomes more limited.

Romanesco is also sometimes grown during the spring in certain warm climates. Check with your local farmers on the ideal months to purchase romanesco in your region.

How to Select Fresh Romanesco

Follow these tips when shopping for romanesco to pick the freshest, best quality heads:

  • Look for crisp, compact heads with florets that are tightly closed together. Avoid loose heads with separating florets.

  • See vibrant, bright color ranging from neon green to chartreuse. Dull or yellowing florets mean older produce.

  • Inspect for damage or decay at the base and on the florets. Minor imperfections are okay if the rest looks fresh.

  • Choose similar-sized heads so they cook evenly if using multiple. Average size is 4-6 inches in diameter.

  • Feel for firm, heavy heads as they will be the most crisp and dense inside. Light or soft heads tend to be overripe.

  • Avoid wet or slimy florets as excess moisture causes faster spoilage. Dry heads last longer.

How Much Romanesco Should I Buy?

When shopping for romanesco, buy only what you plan to use within a few days since it doesn’t store as long as cauliflower. Here are some guidelines for purchase amounts:

  • 1 medium head (4-6 inches) = 3-4 servings
  • 1 large head (7+ inches) = 5-6 servings
  • 1 pound = About 3 cups florets or 2-3 servings

To limit waste, just buy single heads at a time if you’ll use it quickly. For batch cooking or meal prepping, buy 2-3 heads and plan recipes to use it all.

How to Store Romanesco

Follow proper storage methods to extend the shelf life of fresh romanesco:

  • Refrigerate romanesco soon after purchase. Leave whole heads unwashed and store loosely wrapped in plastic bags in the crisper drawer.

  • Use within 3-5 days for peak quality and flavor. Romanesco doesn’t store as long as cauliflower.

  • Cut florets just before cooking to prevent moisture loss. Raw prepped florets only last 1-2 days in the fridge.

  • Do not wash until ready to eat as moisture speeds up spoilage. Gently rinse right before use.

  • Keep stem attached if not using immediately. The stem transports moisture from the head so removing it causes faster wilting.

Proper refrigeration and using romanesco soon after buying ensures you can enjoy its unique flavor and texture. Plan meals ahead to use it while fresh.

Tips for Cooking with Romanesco

Romanesco requires slightly different cooking methods than cauliflower or broccoli. Here are some tips:

  • Roast florets in the oven drizzled with oil at 400°F for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Season as desired.

  • Steam over boiling water for 5-7 minutes until just tender but still firm. Don’t overcook.

  • Sauté chopped florets in a pan with olive oil for 3-5 minutes until crispy on the edges.

  • Add raw florets at the end of soup or stew cooking time. Let simmer briefly just to heat through.

  • Blanch briefly before adding to pasta dishes, frittatas, fried rice, etc. This pre-cooks without overdoing it.

  • Eat raw florets dipped in hummus or another creamy dip for a healthy snack.

The mild flavor of romanesco complements most seasonings. Try garlic, Parmesan, lemon, herbs, or spices like cumin or curry. Enjoy romanesco steamed and drizzled with olive oil and sea salt for simple side. Once you buy this eye-catching veggie, it’s easy to incorporate into many recipes!

Where to Buy Romanesco Recap

With its stunning green spiral florets and delicate nutty taste, romanesco is a unique vegetable to add to your cooking rotation. Follow this guide to find the best sources for purchasing fresh romanesco:

  • Check major grocery store chains, especially in the organic sections
  • Shop seasonal farmer’s markets and ask vendors when it’s peak season
  • Join a CSA or farm share program and see if they offer romanesco
  • Order online for delivery through grocery services like Instacart

Aim to buy romanesco in the fall months when it’s harvested. Look for compact, vibrantly colored heads without damage. Store properly in the crisper drawer and use within 3-5 days. With so many options for finding romanesco, it’s easy to enjoy this beautiful and delicious vegetable!

Roasted Roman-Style Romanesco – Food Wishes


How do I get romanesco?

Looking like an elaborate work of art or alien from space, romanesco is an uncommon vegetable frequently available only at local Farmer’s Markets or to grow from seed.

What is the season for romanesco?

Romanesco heads are ready to harvest in the Autumn, from September onwards. You can wait until you have larger flower heads, or harvest smaller flowerheads, as with sprouting broccoli, and get a second crop.

What is another name for romanesco?

Romanesco goes by various names, including Romanesco broccoli, fractal broccoli, or Roman cauliflower, though it’s considered to be a hybrid between cauliflower and broccoli. And it’s part of the Brassica genus (also known as cruciferous vegetables), just like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale.

Where is romanesco found?

Romanesco didn’t arrive in the U.S. until the beginning of the 20th century, but it is thought to have originated in the Lazio region of Italy as early as the 15th century. Rome, from which the plant gets its name, is the capital of Lazio.

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