Broccoli

Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means "cabbage sprout." Because of its different components, broccoli provides a range of tastes and textures, from soft and flowery (the floret) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Do not let the smell of the sulfur compounds that are released while cooking keep you away from this highly nutritious vegetable.

Broccoli has its roots in Italy. In ancient Roman times, it was developed from wild cabbage, a plant that more resembles collards than broccoli. It spread through out the Near East where it was appreciated for its edible flower heads and was subsequently brought back to Italy where it was further cultivated. Broccoli was introduced to the United States in colonial times, popularized by Italian immigrants who brought this prized vegetable with them to the New World.

A compound found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts appears to be more effective than modern antibiotics against the bacteria which causes peptic ulcers. Moreover, tests in mice show that the compound offers tremendous protection against stomach cancer - the second most common form of cancer in the world.

Storing and Cooking

Broccoli is very perishable and should be stored in open plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper where it will keep for a week. Since water on the surface will encourage its degradation, do not wash the broccoli before refrigerating. Broccoli that has been blanched and then frozen can stay up to a year. Leftover cooked broccoli should be placed in tightly covered container and stored in the refrigerator where it will keep for a few days.

Both cooked and raw broccoli makes excellent additions to your meal plan. Some of the health-supporting compounds in broccoli can be increased by slicing or chewing, since both slicing and chewing can help activate enzymes in the broccoli. The heating (for example, steaming) of unsliced broccoli is also fine, since bacteria in the intestine also have enzymes that can cause production of health-supportive compounds. When cooking broccoli, however, the stems and florets should be prepared differently. Since the fibrous stems take longer to cook, they can be prepared separately for a few minutes before adding the florets. For quicker cooking, make lengthwise slits in the stems. While people do not generally eat the leaves, they are perfectly edible and contain concentrated amounts of nutrients.

Quickly steaming or healthy sautéing are the best ways to cook vegetables to retain their nutrients. Several recent studies have confirmed this advice. The way you cook can dramatically impact the amount of nutrients your vegetables deliver.

A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture investigated the effects of various methods of cooking broccoli. Of all the methods of preparation, steaming caused the least loss of nutrients.

Broccoli and tomatoes-two vegetables separately recognized for their cancer-fighting capabilities-are even more successful against prostate cancer when working as a team in the daily diet, shows a study published in Cancer Research.

"When tomatoes and broccoli are eaten together, we see an additive effect. We think it's because different bioactive compounds in each food work on different anti-cancer pathways," said John Erdman, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois.

Broccoli and tomatoes can make a delicious team at virtually any meal or snack:

  • Healthy sauté broccoli and onion, then add to your favorite breakfast omelet and serve with grilled tomatoes.
  • Enjoy a bowl of tomato soup along with a salad including broccoli florets for lunch.
  • Add lightly steamed broccoli florets to the tomato-paste toppings on your favorite pizza.
  • Healthy sauté broccoli florets along with other favorite vegetables, such as onions and mushrooms, add to pasta sauce and use to top whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
  • For a quick snack, serve raw broccoli florets along with the carrot and celery sticks, dip and crackers, and toast your prostate's health with a glass of tomato juice.
Quick Serving Ideas:

  • Sprinkle lemon juice and sesame seeds over lightly steamed broccoli.
  • Toss pasta with olive oil, pine nuts and healthy sautéed broccoli florets. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Purée cooked broccoli and cauliflower, then combine with seasonings of your choice to make a simple, yet delicious, soup.
  • Add broccoli florets and chopped stalks to omelets.
Broccoli Recipes:

Healthy Steamed Broccoli

Did you know?

In 1997 a team of scientists and economists estimated that the value of services provided to humanity by the living natural environment to be over 33 trillion dollars per year.

Quotes

"We stand, in most places on earth, only six inches from desolation, for that is the thickness of the topsoil layer upon which the entire life of the planet depends."
~R. Neil Sampson

CSA 2010 is closed

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      • Here's a sample box from October!
      • Celery
      • Celeriac
      • Onions
      • Carrots
      • Beets
      • Cabbage
      • Winter Squash
      • Black Beans
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