I LOVE BROCCOLI!! It is one of my favourite vegetables and I pretty much eat it every day. Raw, steamed, microwaved, roasted, pan fried, blended – I don’t care how it comes, I eat it:)
Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family, which includes other vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli’s pale twin, cauliflower. Don’t worry – you will see blogs on these in the coming months:)
Like many members of this family, broccoli grows well in slightly cooler temperatures and is a nearly perfect scaled-down version of a tree.
Broccoli has sometimes been called a “superfood” and contains a variety of unpronounceable, powerful health-promoting phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane, kaempferol and isothiocyanates, which are plant compounds that have detoxifying, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Interestingly, broccoli has its roots in Italy, where it was developed from a species of wild cabbage and its Italian name, broccolo, means “cabbage sprout”.
Broccoli looks like a tiny tree, with a hearty edible stalk branching out into miniature buds. Typically, the plant is a muted green colour, although certain varieties display a green-to-purple ombre hue.
Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw broccoli has a mild sweetness overtop a deep green, slightly bitter, cabbage-like flavour. When cooked, this sweetness lessens and the vegetal flavour becomes more pronounced, becoming sulfurous if overcooked. In its raw form, the broccoli stalk is crunchy and slightly fibrous and the buds are softer and flowery. Cooked, it becomes tender and turns bright green.
Although many people discard the stalk, it is edible too and quite tasty, so long as the fibrous outer layer is peeled off.
One cup of chopped, raw broccoli (about 91.0g) has 31 calories, 2.6g protein, 0.3g fat, 6.0g of carbohydrates, 2.4g fibre and 1.6g sugar. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C (in its raw form) and vitamin K
As previously mentioned, broccoli also contains a host of other anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying compounds, such as sulforaphane, kaempferol, and isothiocyanates.
Broccoli is a common vegetable and is easy to find both fresh or frozen (typically pre-chopped and blanched for convenient preparation), in most grocery stores.
When buying fresh, whole broccoli, look for heads that are compact and firm and free of yellowing, bruising or slimy spots. If the stalk and leaves are attached, they should look fresh and firm too.
If buying packaged broccoli, read the ingredients. Fresh or frozen packaged broccoli should contain only one (rather obvious) ingredient: broccoli – absolutely nothing else!
Broccoli can be stored in the fridge, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag, for up to 10 days. To maintain or restore it fullness or plumpness, broccoli can be placed, freshly-cut stalk down, in a shallow mug or bowl of water for a couple of hours. Cooked broccoli will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for three or four days.
Broccoli can also be frozen, although it should be blanched before freezing to prevent the unpalatable rubbery texture of broccoli that’s been frozen raw and then cooked. Blanched, frozen broccoli will keep in the freezer for about six months.
I also cut my head of broccoli into smaller, even sized florets to speed up the prep process at meal time and store in an airtight container.
Preparation & Tips
In order to eat broccoli, first give it a wash under cool, running water.
Then, trim off the very end of the stem, and slice the stem from the head of florets. Separate the florets into even-sized pieces, using a knife or tearing them apart with your hands. Peel off the outer, fibrous skin of the broccoli stem and cut the stem in desired shapes.
Your broccoli can be eaten raw at this point, either thrown into salads or used as a vehicle for dip – so yum and so good with a great dip such as beetroot:) Alternatively, you can also cook your broccoli either by steaming it, roasting it, microwaving it or tossing it in a stir-fry. Blend it up to make a broccoli tabouli or throw some leftover partially cooked broccoli into your green smoothie