When it comes to nutrition, broccoli may well be the superhero in the produce bin. High in vitamins and minerals, one cup of cooked broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange and as much calcium as a four-ounce glass of milk. In addition, broccoli's impressive list of nutrients includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
What's more, the enzymes in broccoli, along with other cruciferous family members such as cabbage and cauliflower, as well as onions and carrots, may be important in the prevention of certain types of cancer. These enzymes are also said to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
Although broccoli is available all year round, the peak season is from October to April — so that's when you're likely to get the best deal. It's delicious raw, in salads, in soups, stir-fried, steamed, boiled or roasted. Here are some basic tips for choosing and handling fresh broccoli.
Look for tight, compact, deep green bud clusters and leaves that look fresh. Yellowing flower buds are a sign of age.
Store broccoli in perforated plastic bags in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for up to a week. Never wash broccoli before storing because the excess moisture promotes mold.
Wash broccoli thoroughly before using. Cut off one or two inches of the bottom of the stalks and discard. Peel the tough outer skin from stalks. Divide stalks into lengthwise spears and florets if the recipe calls for these specifically. Then steam, microwave or roast until tender.
Whether you choose to use fresh or frozen broccoli, here are some recipes that will encourage you to incorporate this healthy vegetable into your diet.
Asian Almond Broccoli Slaw
Each serving is packed with nutritious ingredients.
Broccoli Soup With Pasta
An easy soup, comforting on a chilly day.
Stir-Fried Broccoli With Sesame Seeds
Aromatic with sesame oil. Omit the pepper flakes if you prefer a milder dish.
Broccoli Soup With Sauteed Shrimp, Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic
This light entrée is inspired by Asian cuisine.
Mustard-Caper Sauce for Broccoli
Give a little zing to your broccoli side dish.
This soufflé is easy to make and sure to impress!
Chicken Cacciatore With Broccoli
Make this recipe in the slow cooker and serve over rice or polenta.
Broccoli With Toasted Hazelnuts and Pancetta
Another example of Italian ingenuity with simple vegetables.
Soba Noodles With Broccoli Sauce
A delicious light supper or side dish with fish or tofu.
Stir-Fried Chicken With Broccoli, Yellow Bell Pepper and Zucchini
Feel free to substitute other vegetables you may have on hand.