Broccoli ~ Brassica oleracea
Broccoli is a long-cultivated vegetable, dating back even to the time of the ancient Romans.
Edible Parts: tender stem and flower tops. some parts of the stem near the bottom are too tough to chew and digest. Broccoli can be eaten uncooked in salads or dipped into a dressing or sauce.
Nutrition: As long as you don’t overcook it, Broccoli offers a generous helping of Vitamins A & C, calcium, potassium, iron, and the enzyme sulforaphane, which is thought to aid in the prevention of cancer.
Processing & Storage: To remove any insects from the garden that may be on your broccoli, soak the head of the plant in cold salt water.
Remove any woody portions of the stems. Store in a plastic bag in refrigerator to keep the plant from drying out. Broccoli should be used within a few days.
Broccoli is a vegetable that also freezes well. To prepare your broccoli for freezing, cut the head into smaller portions and the stems into slices, blanch all parts of the broccoli for 3-4 minutes, rinse, allow to air-dry, and seal in a ziploc bag.
Cooking: Steaming is one of the healthier methods to prepare broccoli. It brings out the color, increases ease of digestibility, and most of the nutrients will not cook away. Steam for 5-7 minutes and season with salt, pepper, and a little squeeze of lemon, or toss into pasta salad.
Got kids? Bake your broccoli into a cheesy casserole, or simply top steamed broccoli with cheese sauce!