broccoli basics

In the world of produce, broccoli is a heavy-hitter. This cruciferous competitor manages to be the top dog of basic nutrition, while still maintaining a sweet, palate-pleasing flavour. And despite rumours, even kids can enjoy properly prepared broccoli!

The Bountiful Benefits of Broccoli

There seems to be an endless list of health benefits associated with broccoli. When put head to head against oranges, broccoli hits it out of the park as a source for vitamin C. And stand back, milk, because broccoli outshines in calcium content. It can also help with vitamin D deficiency and is an excellent source of iron and fibre.

Perhaps its biggest claim to fame is the cancer-fighting benefits that research has linked to broccoli consumption. Study after study has indicated that broccoli eaters reduce their risk of developing a variety of cancers – most notably, breast and uterine cancer.

How to Select

Choose broccoli with florets that are packed together and not bruised. Colour should be uniform – either dark green, sage or purple-green (depending on variety), and with no yellowing. The stalk and stems should be firm and there should be no slimy spots on the stalk, florets or stems.

How to Store Broccoli

Raw broccoli should be kept in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Try not to wash or cut the florets until you want to use it, as exposure to water promotes spoiling and exposure to air will decrease the nutrient levels.

When storing leftover cooked broccoli, make sure to place in a tightly sealed container in the fridge, where it should keep for a few days.

Tips for Prepping Broccoli

Rinse broccoli under cold water and cut florets into quarters for even cooking. Stems can be sliced and enjoyed with the florets. To maximize the nutritional benefits, allow the sliced broccoli to sit for a few minutes before cooking.

The Healthiest Way to Enjoy Broccoli

Research seems to indicate that if you are going to cook broccoli, the best way to maintain its health benefits is to stick with a low cooking temperature. You can achieve this by steaming at about 100°C (212°F). 

Fill the bottom of a steamer with a couple inches of water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steaming basket. Once the water has come to a boil, place the broccoli in the steaming basket and cover. For even cooking, steam the stems for 2 minutes before adding the florets and continuing to steam for 2 to 5 more minutes. Fully cooked broccoli should have a vibrant green colour without being mushy.

 

Sources:

Jennifer Carlson

Founder, Baby Gourmet Foods

Jen is the mother of two well-fed children and has a passion for all things culinary. She is also an inspirational speaker to women, busy moms and entrepreneurs.
www.babygourmet.com

Choose broccoli with florets that are packed together and not bruised. Colour should be uniform – either dark green, sage or purple-green.

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