Broccoli is an annual or biennial vegetable belonging to the cabbage family.
The word “broccoli” comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”, and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning “small nail” or “sprout.”
Broccoli has been around for more than 2000 years.
Like the other close relatives of cabbage, broccoli is native to the Mediterranean area and Asia Minor.
Broccoli has been considered a very valuable food by the Italians since the Roman Empire, but when first introduced in England in the mid-18th century, broccoli was referred to as “Italian asparagus.”
It was first introduced to the United States by Southern Italian immigrants, but did not become widely popular until the 1920s.
Broccoli is a fast-growing annual plant that grows 60–90 centimeters (24–35 inches) tall. Upright and branching with leathery leaves, broccoli bears dense green clusters of flower buds at the ends of the central axis and the branches. If left unharvested, those buds bear yellow flowers with four petals and produce silique fruits (a dry capsule).
Broccoli thrives in moderate to cool climates and is propagated by seeds, either sown directly in the field or in plant beds to produce transplants. The heads, or florets, reach harvest in 60 to 150 days, depending upon the variety and the weather.
There are 34 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Broccoli.
Broccoli is known as the “Crown of Jewel Nutrition” because it is rich in vitamins and minerals.
It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, chromium and folate. Broccoli is a very good source of dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin and selenium.
The health benefits of broccoli include its ability to prevent cancer, improve digestion, lower cholesterol levels, detoxify the body, and maximize vitamin and mineral uptake. It also prevents allergic reactions, boosts the immune system, protects the skin, prevents birth defects, lowers blood pressure, eliminates inflammation, and improves vision and ocular health.
This vagetable is popular and widely eaten. It has a distinctive ‘mustardy’ taste and well known health benefits.
Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten raw.
The United States is the 3rd largest broccoli producer in the world (after China and India).
Heaviest broccoli was grown by John and Mary Evans of Palmer, Alaska, USA in 1993 weighed 15.87 kg (35 lb).
Broccoli resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.
There are records of Thomas Jefferson, who was an avid gardener, experimenting with broccoli seeds brought over from Italy in the late 1700s.