Broccoli is jam-packed with cancer-fighting nutrients. Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, related to cabbage, cauliflower and sprouts. It was first cultivated in the Americas beginning in the 1920s, but had been growing wildly in the Mediterranean for hundreds of years.
BEST STORAGE PRACTICES:
Store broccoli in the veggie bin of the refrigerator between 32 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit. It can last for up to 2 weeks when stored properly in a bag.
FUN WAYS TO EAT AND COOK:
Broccoli is delicious raw with dips and salads. Cooked, it can be nice lightly sautéed, steamed or roasted. A staple veggie for a number of casseroles, quiches, soups and stir-fries.
Select broccoli with bright-green heads and compact clusters of tightly closed flowerets. Stalks and stem leaves should be tender yet firm. Avoid any with yellowing flowerets and thick, woody stems.
WHY IT’S GOOD TO EAT:
- High in sulphoraphane – a majorly researched nutrient for cancer-fighting ability
- Great source of vitamin C, vitamin E and dietary fiber
- High in potassium, folate and beta carotene – a precursor to vitamin A
WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:
Broccoli, like cauliflower, is a cool-weather crop and is grown in temperate months during spring and fall. It is often grown between March and May, as well as September through November.
HOW IT’S HARVESTED:
The broccoli head grows from a stem surrounded by leaves. The head should be cut before the flower buds open while the head is still tight and firm. Cut the heads with a length of 9 to 10 inches from the base of the stem to the top of the head. The central heads vary from 3 to 6 inches in diameter. A few days after the central head is cut, small side shoots grow out and produce small heads measuring 1 to 3 inches in diameter.
Break 1 large head of broccoli into flowerets and thinly slice the stems. Pan-fry broccoli with lid on until bright green and lightly crunchy. Add 2 cloves finely chopped garlic and a handful of snow peas. Season to taste and serve hot.