Broccoli was originally harvested in Italy. Although it’s available all year round, it’s best from the fall to early spring. It has a better flavor and softer texture than the summer breed. It can be eaten raw or braised, steamed or roasted, among other cooking methods.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods available. In addition to healthy doses of beta carotene and vitamin C, broccoli contains a compound that may act to protect against some forms of cancer.
How to Select
Select broccoli with a deep green or green/purple color, tightly packed heads with tiny buds and green leaves. The broccoli should have a fresh aroma and a firm but tender stalk. The deeper the color of the florets, the better the nutrients. Do not select broccoli with yellow '"flowers"' inside the buds, this indicates it is old and tough.
How to Store
Store unwashed fresh broccoli in the refrigerator in an open plastic bag (it's best used within a day or two, but will keep in the crisper up to 5 days).
Wash and remove outer leaves before using broccoli. If the broccoli stems appear to be tough, use a knife to peel the tough outer portion.
Raw. It’s best eaten on its own, accompanied by a dip or cut up and added to salads. When cooked, it can be eaten as a side dish, alone or topped with sauces such as au gratin, hollandaise or tomato. It is also often added to other dishes, such as stir fries, pasta, quiches, omelets, soups, and stews.
Shocked. For nutritional purposes, it's best to cook broccoli in the smallest amount of water possible, in the shortest amount of time. Cook in rolling boiling water for 10 seconds and then place the broccoli in a boil of iced water to “shock” it. This will prevent it from turning brown.
Boiled or Steamed Prepare one pound of broccoli as spears or pieces. Cook covered in a small amount of boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender-crisp. Or, steam the broccoli for 8 to 10 minutes.