Broccoli creates heads of nutritionWhenever someone tells you to eat something because “it is good for you,” it usually results in people turning up their nose. I really don’t believe this response is garnered due to the “good for you” comment over the underlying tone of saying you really don’t eat properly. Nobody likes to be told they are unhealthy or that they eat poorly.
By: John Zvirovski, Sun Garden Editor, The Jamestown Sun
Whenever someone tells you to eat something because “it is good for you,” it usually results in people turning up their nose. I really don’t believe this response is garnered due to the “good for you” comment over the underlying tone of saying you really don’t eat properly. Nobody likes to be told they are unhealthy or that they eat poorly.
Broccoli is one of those foods that always gets a bum rap. This dislike seems to begin during childhood and sometimes carries into us as adults. Nine times out of 10, kids do not enjoy eating this vegetable. Usually people try to entice kids to eat it slathered in butter, salt, cheese or cream sauces, but really, at this level, you may as well feed them a Danish as the calories and added fat have just quadrupled in amount. You may end up with better results from your kids with this doctored-up vegetable, but the overall product tends to be destroyed in the process.
The best way to enjoy the great flavor of broccoli is to lightly steam it until is develops a brilliant green hue. A very light seasoning of olive oil, garlic and pepper will really pack a delightful punch of flavor and deliver all the good nutrients that this vegetable has to offer.
Broccoli has been around for nearly 2,000 years and is a selection of the wild cabbage family. It prefers a cool growing season in organic, moisture-retentive soils for best results.
This vegetable is actually the large flower head that develops in the center of the plant. It is best harvested before the buds get a yellowish appearance prior to blooming.
As with cabbage, the other close relative of cauliflower, the broccoli plant can be a food source for the cabbage caterpillar. We are all familiar with the white cabbage moth that flies around these plants in mid-summer and lays their eggs.
Sometimes, at harvest, you may notice the green larvae in the floral heads of the broccoli. The best way to eliminate them before preparing your vegetable is by soaking it in a warm bath of salt water to encourage them to exit the heads.
There are chemical sprays available in the market such as Sevin, to control these larvae from developing. As with most foods, I am not particularly fond of chemical sprays on any food sources. Another helpful technique is to tie the outside leaves of the plant around the developing head to keep moths from laying their eggs on the product. This will also keep the heads from bleaching on those hot summer days.
Broccoli is one of those healthy vegetables that is packed full of cancer fighting agents and is also very high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. By preparing broccoli via steaming, stir frying or in the microwave, you will retain all the nutrient essentials this vegetable has to offer.
Boiling this vegetable quickly reduces the nutritional value and should be avoided for periods of time in excess of 5 minutes of longer. Boiling will also cause this product to become tasteless and mushy, which may be another reason we have trouble as children enjoying its flavor.
Common varieties to grow in our area fall under the names of Blue Wind, Windsor, Green Goliath, Gypsy, Green Magic and Arcadia. They all mature within 55 to 65 days from planting and produce nice full heads of succulent green florets.
Even though this vegetable does not seem very common in the gardens in the area, it is easily grown and should be used more often. With the nutritional benefits this vegetable has to offer, this is definitely a product that should be pursued further.
I truly believe if this vegetable is prepared in its most natural state, it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is even becoming more common served raw in vegetable trays as an appetizer for social gatherings.
If you cannot get your kids to enjoy this product steamed or raw, chop it up into small pieces, steam it and add it to salads, casseroles, rice, or light pasta dishes. You will retain the nutritional value and still allow its consumption by those who say they don’t like broccoli. You may be surprised as who actually enjoys this vegetable when prepared properly.
Studies have proven that fresh and steamed vegetables are our quickest way to improving our health across the board and you can never eat enough of them. If you didn’t plant this vegetable in your garden this year, don’t forget to go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store to pick up some of the finest broccoli heads grown today.
The comment that it is good for you is true in so many ways and it can make a world of difference in your health down the road.