Vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre, calcium, beta-carotene – you name the nutrient, broccoli likely has it! It’s loaded with dietary benefits and wonderful flavour, especially in its prime.
Choose broccoli with tight, firm florets and avoid bunches that appear dry and have begun to separate. Take note of the colour: It should be uniform and vibrant, whether a bunch is green or purplish in tone. Look for strong, sturdy stems that are completely firm and not rubbery or bendable. The leaves on the stem should also appear vibrant. Wilted leaves are a good sign that the broccoli is no longer fresh.
Broccoli doesn’t like moisture, so wash it just before you’re ready to use. Broccoli also lasts longer with less exposure to air, so to keep your just-purchased bunches their freshest, store them in an airtight bag in your fridge’s crisper drawer.
Cleaning and prepping
Wash broccoli thoroughly under cool water. Many people discard the stem end when preparing broccoli, but don’t – it’s a delicious and sweet part of the vegetable. Trim the bottom end and then peel away the woody outer skin. Slice it in coins or lengthwise, then cook as you wish.
Cooking with broccoli
Broccoli is one of those superfoods that you can consume raw or cooked. Steaming is a superb way to prepare it to preserve its maximum nutritional value. Broccoli can be broken into small florets and sautéed, roasted or grilled. Regardless of the cooking method you choose, break florets into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking time. When broccoli is at its peak, it makes for a wonderful salad with its fresh, crisp and sweet characteristic. Try it here in our Broccoli, Apple & Bacon Salad in Walnut Vinaigrette.
Which Broccoli Is Better: Raw or Cooked?
Broccoli frequently earns a top spot on “superfoods” lists. This is partly because it delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, a compound thought to thwart cancer by helping to stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes. According to recent research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, raw broccoli provides significantly more of this beneficial nutrient than cooked. (Cooking locks sulforaphane in, making it unavailable to your body.) In the small study, men were given about 1 cup of broccoli, raw or cooked. Those who ate the raw broccoli absorbed sulforaphane faster and in higher amounts compared to those who ate it cooked. The findings add to growing evidence that links diets rich in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower, to lower rates of cancer.