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Broccoli

Broccoli

Crunchy, mild and slightly bitter, broccoli is the perfect complement for cheeses, salads and stir-fries. Not bad for one of nature's great sources of nutrients!

Nutritional Highlights

  • Hold onto your hat, because broccoli's vitamin C content might just blow your hair back: Just 85 g of raw broccoli, or a little more than a cup chopped, contains 130 percent of your Daily Value of vitamin C, making this veggie an excellent source of the antioxidant.
  • Broccoli is also a source of folate and vitamins A and K. What more could you ask for?

History

George H.W. Bush famously bridled at the idea of trying this healthyg veggie: "I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli." Children's letters later poured into the nation's capital, coaxing him to try it anyway. By that time, broccoli had been popular in the U.S. for close to 70 years, ever since immigrants brought it over from Italy. Since then, broccoli has graced countless plates, soup tureens, salad bowls and casserole dishes — yes, even in the White House.

Varieties

While several other types of broccoli exist, the most popular variety is called Italian green. Also known simply as "broccoli," it's the tree-like veggie you've come to know and love.

When is Broccoli in Season?

Generally, broccoli is available at your local supermarket all year long.

Wow to Choose Broccoli

A good bunch of broccoli has a distinct look. It's "flowers," called florets, are a deep, dark, almost purplish green. The thick stem should be firm and unbroken. Skip broccoli bunches that are bendy, scarred or beginning to flower. Quick Tip: The darker the broccoli florets, the higher their content of vitamin C and beta-carotene.

How to Store Broccoli

Fresh broccoli goes directly into the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. You can also buy frozen florets from Green Giant, which will keep in your freezer for months on end.

How to Cook with Broccoli

The easiest way to cook broccoli while preserving its flavor, nutrient content and snappy texture is to lightly steam or stir-fry it. To prepare it for cooking, wash broccoli under cold tap water. Whether you leave your broccoli whole or chop it into smaller spears is up to you. These can then be steamed for about five to seven minutes, or until tender. You might also try stir-frying, microwaving or boiling them. Cook broccoli just enough so that you can cut into its stalk with a paring knife, but not so long that it loses its brilliant green hue.

Key Measurements

Most recipes call for broccoli in cups (chopped), individual spears or full stalks.

Substitutions

To preserve the shape and much of the flavor of broccoli, you can easily substitute cauliflower into a recipe. Brussels sprouts, asparagus or artichoke hearts may also take broccoli's place. You can experiment with their tastes and textures to find what works best.

Broccoli in Recipes

You'll hardly find a more colorful and enticing dish than this Broccoli, Bacon and Pepper Toss, which delivers between three and five of your daily servings of veggies and tastes just as good when served cold as tomorrow's leftovers.

If you've been craving a rich Asian noodle bowl, a Beef and Broccoli Stir Frywill truly hit the spot.

And for a little comfort food that no one can resist, bake a hot Crunchy-Topped Broccoli Casserole with a decadent three-cheese sauce.

Related Recipes

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Green Giant

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