Broccoli is a member of the brassica family (along with cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, and kale, among others), and it was first cultivated in ancient Rome.  It is very nutritious, and is loaded with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, and iron.  Broccoli also is a source of many phytochemicals that are touted for their anti-cancer properties.  Broccoli is commonly available in early summer and fall, as it does not stand up well to heat.




Store broccoli in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator.  Broccoli is best when used within a few days.  For longer-term storage, broccoli can also be frozen.  Cut into florets and chop stems.  Blanch for 3-4 minutes; then put in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.  Drain, let dry, and store in an airtight container such as a freezer bag.


General Tips 

Soak broccoli head upside down in cold salt water to remove any hidden field pests.  Cut off the lowest part of the stem if tough or woody.  Broccoli can be eaten raw – add it to salads, or pair with a dip.  Cook broccoli florets in quiches, casseroles, sautés, on top of pizza, etc.


Steamed Broccoli

Cut into florets, and steam lightly for 5-7 minutes.  Try eating it plain, with butter, with lemon juice and pepper, or with cheese and red pepper flakes.


Roasted Broccoli

1 head broccoli, large and medium stems removed and reserved for another use

1 ½ T olive oil

½ tsp. garlic salt (or powder)

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400°F.  Chop broccoli into medium-sized florets and toss with remaining ingredients.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 18-22 minutes (shake pan halfway through).  Broccoli will become a deep green color.

(Recipe by MACSAC, in From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce (Third Edition).)