Bold and beautiful? How about blah, boring, blech! Poor, poor much-maligned broccoli. Oh sure…you all understand that broccoli is good for you, but still you know some people who avoid it. Maybe you do, too.
Years ago broccoli even had Oval Office shade thrown its way when then-president George H.W. Bush told the press corps, “I do not like broccoli. I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!” Boo.
Broccoli belongs to the brassica family, a.k.a. the mustard family or cole crops. Other members of that family include cauliflower, broccolette, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choi, collards, mustards, daikon, radish, kohlrabi, rutabagas, and even turnips. And every last one of ‘em is descended from the wild cabbage. Most of these veggies, in one way or another, have seen a recent surge in popularity as we come to appreciate their taste and nutrient density. Broccoli seems to be lagging behind.
As eaters and as organic farmers, we adore broccoli. And we need it. It’s a hero of our crop rotation program. Broccoli takes different nutrients from the soil than our leafy greens crops do and it also helps us manage pests.
How, exactly, does broccoli help manage pests, you’re wondering? Here’s how: after we’re done harvesting the stalks, we let the remaining plant material decompose and it gets worked into the soil. Not only does that augment the organic matter in our soil, but as it decomposes, it smells just like decomposing broccoli smells in your refrigerator. You don’t like it and neither do the bugs.
But let’s get back to the benefits of eating broccoli. It’s an amazing nutritional powerhouse and it really tastes great when prepared properly. About a cup of broccoli:
- Has more than 100% of your daily Vitamin C
- Is a good source of Folate and Vitamin A
- Is about as low as you can get in terms of glycemic load
Look, if the only way you’ve ever tried broccoli is boiled to a mushy oblivion, we understand why you might not like it. And we have a few suggestions for you.
First the super simple and delicious:
- Roasting! A simple, no muss-no fuss way to bring out the sweetness and mellow the stronger flavor.
- Proper boiling. Boiling? Yes, boiling. To quickly infuse broccoli with flavor, boil in water as salty as the sea for 5 minutes. Adjust time for crisper or softer veggies. Try adding other spices to the water for even more flavor, like sriracha or tabasco.
Now just a little fancier:
- Baked Broccoli Cauliflower Veggie Tots and Creamy Chive Dip
- Caramelized Broccoli, Onion, and Spinach Frittata
- Cream of Broccoli Soup
Try them out and tell us what you think in the comments!