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Broccolli

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Brassica oleracea var. Italica

CLASSIFICATION

Vegetable

SEASON

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

About

The broccoli with its distinctive green colouring and bouquet bunch appearance, is overflowing with health benefits to the body.

Broccoli stalk is nick named “poor man’s asparagus” and has a similar taste to cabbage with a slight peppery flavour which is quite a different taste to the broccoli head.

Include both components in cooking to add different textures and flavours.

It is available throughout the year with West Australian grown broccoli in abundant supply from September through to June.

When there is a short supply of broccoli in WA, broccoli gets imported from SA and VIC.

Tips and Hints

The head of the broccoli is the flower of the plant.

Broccoli is delivered to the market by growers either as loose heads in plastic crates of cartons or as heads packed into polystyrene boxes filled with ice for long distance transport. Broccoli supplied by this latter method is sometimes described as ‘ice broccoli’ in store.

When selecting, look for dark or bright green closed florets with a compact head (firm to hand pressure) and a cleanly cut stalk. There should be no yellow florets and no discoloration on the stem.

Avoid over mature heads where the individual stems (florets) that make up the heads have become loose, flower buds are starting to elongate and burst and showing the first signs of yellow petals. Heads that include some yellow to brown buds or depressed black spots should also be avoided.

Ideally broccoli should be sold from a refrigerated cabinet to ensure that it will keep well after you get it home. Alternatively, look for broccoli that has obviously come out of cool storage. It is not a bad thing to see some light condensation on heads as this is a sign that it has been kept refrigerated.

Refrigerate broccoli as soon as you get home and store it in a sealed plastic freezer bag or a sealed container that will keep moisture in to stop heads from going limp. 5-7 days of storage life can be expected.

Avoid storing broccoli for any length of time with fruits like bananas, avocadoes and tomatoes.

Tips and Hints
Feel for firm head
Try raw broccoli florets with dips.

Always wash broccoli in running water immediately before preparing.

Most people prepare and eat broccoli florets and discard the stems. The next time you buy broccoli, plan to use the stalks as well as the florets. You’ll be amazed at how versatile and delicious they are.

To prepare stalks, cut off the ends. Looking at the cut end, you’ll see there is a green edge and a more whitish centre. Peel off the greenish outer part. Pierce with a knife just inside the green part and pull off the green part. Just like with an asparagus, the green part will peel away where it’s supposed to if you make the cut as deep as needed. After you’ve peeled the whole stalk, just cut in desired sized pieces.

If you’re stir-frying, you can add the stalks at the beginning of the stir-fry, with other harder to cook vegetables, like carrots. By the time the stir fry is done, the stalks will be fully cooked.

To steam or boil cook for approximately 3-5 minutes until tender with a slight bite.

Broccoli can be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable along with carrot and celery for use with savoury dips.

Broccoli is also suitable for freezing. It is simple to do and can be an option for preserving excess quantities that are bought when broccoli is plentiful and prices are low. The texture of frozen broccoli is softer than the fresh product, but the nutritional content can be as good. Ensure little moisture on the broccoli and store in freezer bag. Frozen broccoli is best used in cooking and soups.

Tips and Hints
Great tasting broccoli is not overcooked
Pan fry garlic, bacon and chilli and toss through steamed broccoli. Finish with toasted pine nuts or walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

Always wash broccoli in running water immediately before preparing.

Most people prepare and eat broccoli florets and discard the stems. The next time you buy broccoli, plan to use the stalks as well as the florets. You’ll be amazed at how versatile and delicious they are.

To prepare stalks, cut off the ends. Looking at the cut end, you’ll see there is a green edge and a more whitish centre. Peel off the greenish outer part. Pierce with a knife just inside the green part and pull off the green part. Just like with an asparagus, the green part will peel away where it’s supposed to if you make the cut as deep as needed. After you’ve peeled the whole stalk, just cut in desired sized pieces.

If you’re stir-frying, you can add the stalks at the beginning of the stir-fry, with other harder to cook vegetables, like carrots. By the time the stir fry is done, the stalks will be fully cooked.

To steam or boil cook for approximately 3-5 minutes until tender with a slight bite.

Broccoli can be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable along with carrot and celery for use with savoury dips.

Broccoli is also suitable for freezing. It is simple to do and can be an option for preserving excess quantities that are bought when broccoli is plentiful and prices are low. The texture of frozen broccoli is softer than the fresh product, but the nutritional content can be as good. Ensure little moisture on the broccoli and store in freezer bag. Frozen broccoli is best used in cooking and soups.

Tips and Hints
Great tasting broccoli is not overcooked
Pan fry garlic, bacon and chilli and toss through steamed broccoli. Finish with toasted pine nuts or walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

Broccoli is one of the best selling vegetables primarily due to its nutritional benefits. Compounds found in broccoli have been shown to boost the immune system, lower the incidence of cataracts, support cardiovascular health, build bones, and fight birth defects.

Broccoli contains 3,3′-Diindolylmethane that is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. The indole-3-carbinol in broccoli is a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Broccoli has the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family and it is rich in lutein and beta-carotene.

A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli consumption has also been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease.

Broccoli is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, vitamins A, B6, C, E, K thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium, and a very good source of dietary fibre, folate, potassium and manganese.

BROCCOLI, RAW
Nutrient Value per 100 g
Proximates
Energy, including dietary fibre 124 kJ
Moisture 89.4 g
Protein 4.4 g
Nitrogen 0.7 g
Fat 0.3 g
Ash 0.9 g
Dietary fibre 3.6 g
Fructose 0.2 g
Glucose 0.1 g
Sucrose 0.1 g
Total sugars 0.4 g
Available carbohydrate, without sugar alcohols 0.4 g
Available carbohydrate, with sugar alcohols 0.4 g
Organic Acids
Malic acid 0.1 g
Citric acid 0.3 g
Minerals
Calcium (Ca) 33 mg
Copper (Cu) 0.052 mg
Fluoride (F) 84.57 ug
Iron (Fe) 0.86 mg
Magnesium (Mg) 22 mg
Manganese (Mn) 0.221 mg
Phosphorus (P) 81 mg
Potassium (K) 345 mg
Sodium (Na) 22 mg
Zinc (Zn) 0.6 mg
Vitamins
Thiamin (B1) 0.075 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.206 mg
Niacin (B3) 0.47 mg
Niacin Equivalents 1.15 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.47 mg
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.09 mg
Biotin (B7) 9.8 ug
Folate, natural 49 ug
Total folates 49 ug
Dietary folate equivalents 49 ug
Beta carotene 276 ug
Cryptoxanthin 9 ug
Beta carotene equivalents 281 ug
Retinol equivalents 47 ug
Vitamin C 99 mg
Alpha tocopherol 0.2 mg
Vitamin E 0.18 mg
Cholesterol 0 mg
Amino Acids
Tryptophan (mg/g N) 57 MN
Tryptophan (mg) 40 mg

 

Source:
NUTTAB 2010(Food Standards Australia New Zealand); The University of New South Wales; Professor Heather Greenfield and co-workers at the University of New South Wales; Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods (J Brand-Miller, KW James and PMA Maggiore).

Tips and Hints:
Regularly features in articles as the top ten of superfoods
There are only 30 calories in one cup of broccoli.