The name’s Broccoli - James Broccoli, and I’m licensed to heal. Yes, that’s right, I’m one of the world’s most powerful agents in the silent war against that arch villain - Cancer. I may be cunningly disguised as a tasty vegetable, but behind my appealing flavour lies an army of nutrients ready to protect you against our common foe.
Let me tell you more about how I can help you. I belong to the brassica family and am closely related to the cabbage. As you know I have a distinct appearance - when cut I look like a small, dense tree with greeny-white branches ending in clumps of small, rounded and tightly packed blue-green to green flower buds.
My fellow broccoli heads and I can range in colour from dark green to purplish green. We have a delicious flavour and if everyone on the planet ate broccoli, we’d wipe out hunger, disease and bad jokes about the brassica family!
Did you know?
Why Broccoli Are Good To Eat
How They are Grown and Harvested
Our stem ends in a compact head or mass of developing bluey-green to green flower buds, each head being 9-12cm wide. Below the main head many side shoots grow and have much smaller flower clusters (2.5-7cm). Both the main head and the group of flower buds on the side shoots are harvested.
We’re harvested when the flower buds are closed and compact with no yellowing buds or flowers evident. Heads are removed with about 10-15cm of stem attached. When the main head is cut, new shoots with smaller heads form, so a single plant will keep producing for many weeks.
It’s essential that we’re cooled as soon as possible after harvest otherwise small yellow flower heads will develop rapidly, which are bitter in taste. Often you may see boxes of us arriving into the green grocers covered in ice to prevent us from maturing further.
How to Keep Broccoli
Prime Growing Areas
History of Broccoli
Siberian broccoli, a small, hardy, purple member of our family was planted at Norfolk Island in 1788. Throughout the 19th century, purple and green varieties were available in Australia but we were not as popular as ordinary cabbage. It wasn’t until the influx of Italian immigrants in the first half of this century that we became more fully appreciated.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Broccoli
Steam, boil, pan-fry or microwave tops and stems until just tender but crisp to maintain the bright green colour, about 3-6 minutes. Serve as a vegetable, in stir-fries, salads, crepes, casseroles, soups, omelettes or with dips.
Some delicious broccoli recipes to try:
Broccoli And Apple Soup
Garlic Broccoli And Snow Peas
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