Nutrients and health benefits:
- very high in vitamin C
- rich in vitamin A
- has high levels of carotenoids (vitamin A like substances)
- high in fiber (consumption of large amounts of fibre-rich foods may cause gas and should be reduced or avoided in people with diarrrhea and some other colon related problems)
- has generous amounts of calcium
- rich in folate (which may be helpful in prevention of some birth defects and to avoid heart disease and strokes)
- a source of phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, that may have anticancer properties
- loaded with antioxidants
- very low in fat and calories
How to Choose, Store and Consume:
The broccoli heads should be firm and compact. Broccoli should be dark or bright green to purplish in colour and has closed flower buds. Stalks should be cleanly cut and firm too.
Broccoli is not suitable for dry storage. It should ideally be stored at 32F with the humidity of 95%.
If you are going to freeze your broccoli, then cut it into florets, blanch it for two minutes and cool down to 41F before packaging and placing in the freezer which can stay there for up to 3 months.
Broccoli can be consumed raw or cooked. It can be purchased fresh or frozen. It can be cooked whole or broken into florets. It has the most nutrients when eaten raw. If cooking with the stems, cut through thick stems to allow even cooking. You can steam, boil, or pan-fry broccoli. Some people even microwave it. Do not overcook broccoli and make sure it still retains the bright green colour even when cooked.
You can use broccoli in many types of meals but our two favourite cooked broccoli dishes are broccoli salad and broccoli soup. Then comes vegetarian stir-fried noodles with some broccoli along with a few other types of vegies or stir-fried mustard seeds with broccoli.
We often eat the stem raw. We just peel off the tough skin around it and cut it into slices or finger length strips. It is crispy, juicy and has a fresh taste.
When Mr. Junior started eating solids and was safe to eat broccoli, I used raw broccoli stems or lightly boiled broccoli florets as a finger food or a snack for him. He has always enjoyed it and he much prefers raw or very lightly blanched broccoli to casseroles or omelettes with broccoli. When I am preparing broccoli to make a soup with for example, he always tries his tricks to get some uncooked pieces of broccoli off me before I use them.