Come on a green voyage of discovery and learn the facts about broccoli – varieties, nutrition, selection and storage. We will make it easy for you to eat your greens!
The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural “broccolo” and means the ‘flowering crest of a cabbage’ and is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Broccoli has a bitter flavour to some and a sweet flavour to others – it just depends on your genes!
- Broccoli – Autumn – Winter – Spring
- Brocco-flower / Romanesco – Autumn – Winter
- Broccolini – Winter
- An excellent source of …
- Vitamin C – maintains and repairs body tissue, helps absorb Iron and helps form collagen
- Vitamin K – good for bone health and blood clotting
- Vitamin A -important for growth and development and the maintenance of your immune system
- A good source of B6 – which is involved in the formation of red blood cells, helps the body make the hormones serotonin (which regulates mood) and norepinephrine (which helps your body cope with stress). It also helps the body make melatonin (important regulating sleep)
- As well as a good source of Folate (a water-soluble B vitamin, and essential for cell growth and metabolism and especially important for pregnant women) and Manganese (helps to regulate of brain and nerve function)
- Broccoli – An edible green plant with large flowering heads.
- Broccolini – Is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan) was developed in Australia. This tender delicious vegetable has thin asparagus-like stems and mini broccoli heads.
- Broccoflower / Romanesco – A hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoflower has a slightly sweet mild flavour. Resembling a green cauliflower, they can be cooked in the same ways. Look for unmarked florets that are tightly packed.
IS BROCCOLI A SUPERFOOD?
Harvard Health has placed Broccoli (along with all cruciferous/brassica vegetables) as number 3 on their “12 Foods You Should Be Eating” list.
They were included because all cruciferous vegetables are potent disease fighters as they contain natural compounds that are believed to have cancer-fighting properties. In addition, Broccoli is also high in Vitamin C, fibre, calcium and folate.
SELECTION & STORAGE
Select firm and dark green broccoli and broccoli hybrids with densely packed heads. Avoid heads that with yellowing florets that are separating. For broccolini look for fresh moist florets and avoid drooping ones.
Keep broccoli in an open or perforated plastic bag in the crisper section of your fridge.
For broccoli and broccoflower/romanesco – trim any woody stem ends or tough leaves with a knife. Divide into small, individual florets, each with a short stem, and diagonally slice the thicker stems. Rinse under cold water.
For broccolini – remove any damaged or wilted leaves, trim a little off the stems, and slice any thick spears in half