Now widely recognized for its nutritional punch, broccoli is gradually gaining a popularity many thought would never come.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense foods known; it offers an incredibly high level of nutrition with very low calories. Of the top ten most commonly vegetables eaten in the United States, broccoli is at the top in terms of total polyphenol content.
Need to boost your vitamin C intake? Choose broccoli. A little low on potassium? Choose broccoli. Decided to increase your dietary fiber intake? Choose broccoli. Iron low? What do you do, choose broccoli.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin A. With one half-cup of cooked broccoli providing 1083 IU of vitamin A.
Broccoli's dark green color as an indicator of its hearty carotene content. The darker colors of the florets, such as blue green, or purplish green contain more beta carotene and vitamin C than those with lighter greens.
Folic acid is also abundant in broccoli with one-half cup cooked broccoli registering 39 mcg.
A cup of cooked broccoli also offers as much calcium as found in a 4 oz. of milk.
One cup of cooked broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange. A cup of broccoli actually fulfills your daily vitamin C requirement. One third of a pound has more vitamin C than two and one-half pounds of oranges.
Counting calories? Broccoli contains only 22 calories for one-half cup chopped and boiled and 12 calories for one-half cup raw chopped.
Broccoli has been around for more than 2000 years; The name "broccoli" comes for the Latin word brachium, which means "branch," or "arm." Americans have grown it in their gardens for only about 200 years! The first commercially grown broccoli was grown and harvested in New York, then planted in the 1920's in California. A few crates were sent back East and by 1925 the broccoli market was off the ground.
Choose bunches that are dark green. Good color indicates high nutrient value. Florets that are dark green, purplish, or bluish green contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than paler or yellowing ones. Choose bunches with stalks that are very firm. Stalks that bend or seem rubbery are of poor quality. Avoid broccoli with open, flowering, discolored, or water-soaked bud clusters and tough, woody stems.
Though broccoli is available year round, its peak season is from October to April. Prices may be higher in July and August when broccoli is less productive but don't overlook the frozen. Frozen broccoli may contain 35% more beta carotene than the fresh as most of the beta carotene is stored in the florets.
Look for compact crowns that have dark green, blue-green, or the purplish-green, tightly closed buds with dark green leaves that are strong and upright. Intense colors are a good indicator of hearty nutritional content. Yellow or yellowish-green broccoli heads and leaves indicate the vegetable is not fresh and has lost nutrients. Pass on the limp stalks and choose only sturdy, crisp, bright green stems.
Look carefully at the cut ends of the broccoli stalks and choose those that are completely closed. The stalks that have open cores on the bottom tend to be older, woodier, and tougher.
Store broccoli unwashed, in an open plastic bag and place in the crisper drawer of refrigerator. It is best if used within a day or two after purchasing to avoid high nutritional loss.
Preparation and Cooking
The best way to cook broccoli is to steam it. Cooking in a microwave or stir-frying with a little broth or water help preserve the flavor and avoid the foul smells often associated with broccoli. Cooked broccoli should be tender enough so that it can be pierced with a sharp knife, and still remain crisp and bright green in color. These methods are also better than boiling as they reduce the vitamin and mineral content lost from boiling.
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli
Vegetarians in Paradise - https://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch44.html
University of Illinois Extension - https://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/broccoli1.html