Broccoli – Brassica oleracea italic

Broccoli florets
Broccoli florets

“I do not like broccoli.

And 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.”

George Bush, U.S. President (1990)

This native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor areas is not known in the wild, but is cultivated practically worldwide. It makes a good companion with celery and other high smell plants, their aromas seem to reduce insect predation. There is a long history of it being cultivated in Ancient Rome. During the 16th century it was grown in Italy and France, but England not until recent centuries.

Broccoli has been shown through research to be a cancer fighter and diabetes preventer. It has been listed as number 1 by the US National Cancer Institute’s list of anti-cancer vegetables. It is believed to help prevent cancer of the lung, stomach, mouth, ovaries, breast, cervix, colon, and prostate.  It is rich in indoles, beta carotene, and vitamin C.

The flowering heads (before blooming) and the upper stalks are edible. If some stalk with leaves remains it will grow new side shoots, and harvest can continue! The flowers are best when steamed so as not to boil away the nutrients. The stems can be skinned and sliced to be added to soups, stews or stir fries.

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