Sunday, August 5, 2007

Spotlight On Produce: Broccoli

Growing up, my younger brother was well known for being an extremely picky eater. As my mom wouldn't make special meals, if he didn't like what she had cooked, he could fall back on cereal. He ate a lot of cereal!

Now that he's an adult, he's still a pretty picky eater, but one of his most favorite foods is broccoli, which has a reputation as being one of those green things that moms push on their kids. We like to tease him that he's going to turn into broccoli one of these days, but the truth is he couldn't have chosen a healthier favorite food.

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable of the cabbage family, with fleshy green flower head that grow from an edible stalk. Broccoli is high in soluble fiber, vitamins C, K and A, as well as calcium. One cup of broccoli contains only 43 calories.

Broccoli is readily available year-round, but the prime season for fresh broccoli is October through April. When choosing fresh broccoli, look for lively green leaves and firm, thin stalks. The florets should be compact, firmly closed, and of a deep green color. Broccoli is also available frozen.

Broccoli makes a colorful addition when served raw with vegetable platters, and is a mainstay in stirfrys and vegetable soups. Try adding it to lasagna or finely chopped in sauces, or serve it steamed with melted cheese sauce on top.

What are some of your favorite ways to prepare broccoli?

1 comment:

Jen said...

Broccoli contains a bitter chemical that only certain people can taste. Being able to taste it or not taste it is genetic. Needless to say, apparently no one in my family has the bitter-broccoli gene & we all love it!

We mostly eat it steamed, and the kids order it in place of fries when we eat out. I also throw it into casseroles whenever I have it on hand-toss a handful of chopped broccoli into stroganoff or whatever.