Everybody knows you should eat your greens!
Throughout the year, broccoli is one of the easiest foods to locate, as most supermarkets across the United States offer a hearty supply of the nutrient-rich vegetable.
While broccoli has gotten a bad reputation as being one of the most dreaded vegetables on the dinner plate for a child, there are actually many different delicious ways to prepare the vegetable with the alluring green stalk and bushy top.
When it comes to basic nutrients, broccoli is a mother lode.
Ounce for ounce, boiled broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk, according to the USDA’s nutrient database. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section.
But the real surprise is this vegetable’s potent cancer-fighting components.
At the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, food chemist Dr. Paul Talalay has gone so far as to name his lab after “Brassica,” the genus that includes broccoli and cauliflower. Talalay and his team at the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory have discovered that broccoli is rich in substances called isothiocyanates — chemicals shown to stimulate the body’s production of its own cancer-fighting substances, called “phase two enzymes.” According to Talalay, these enzymes, in turn, neutralize potential cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to damage the DNA of healthy cells.
If you don’t like broccoli, take heart: In 1997, Talalay and his researchers at Hopkins discovered to their surprise that broccoli sprouts, the week-old seedlings of the mature plant, are exceptionally rich in a form of isothiocyanate called sulforaphane — 10 to 100 times as rich as broccoli itself, in fact. More and more markets now carry the tender shoots, which are delicious on sandwiches and salads. Trader joes has them under the name broccolini.
My partner and I now buy the big bag of Broccoli flourettes and make a large batch, by steaming them usually, and keep in the fridge and eat them everyday. We put them in salads, mixed with brown rice and salmon for a lunch bowl, or cold out of the bag as a snack. My Japanese roommate from years back would flash boil for 1 minute and then mix the drained flourettes with equal parts soy sauce and sesame oil whipped together. They tasted even better the next few days!
Broccoli with Toasted Garlic
Copyright, 2005, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved
Show: Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger Episode: Home Cooking
• 1 pound broccoli, washed and cut into florets
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• Salt and pepper
Put broccoli, with water still clinging to it from being washed, into a large microwave safe bowl or dish with a lid. Cover the bowl with the lid and microwave for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat and add the garlic. Cook the garlic in the oil, stirring frequently, until it is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the toasted garlic to a small dish.
Remove the bowl of broccoli from microwave and carefully uncover it, drain it and pat it dry. Put the broccoli into the skillet with the olive oil and saute over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted garlic, and season with salt and pepper.