Broccoli is a nutrient rich vegetable that has several proven health benefits. It is very high in vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K, & B-complex, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, & iron, and beta carotene.
Broccoli is packed with anti-cancer compounds such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which are known to help prevent stomach, colon, liver, breast, skin, and prostate cancers. It also has the ability to fight against H.Pylori bacteria that can cause a great amount of discomfort in the digestive tract.
Broccoli is excellent for strengthening and sharpening cognitive abilities such as memory, focus, and concentrations skills. It is also great for helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Broccoli is highly beneficial for the nervous system and is known to ease migraines, hypertension, anxiety, and nervous ticks. It contains natural antihistamine properties and is fantastic for warding off seasonal allergies, watery eyes, sinusitis, sinus infections, colds, flu, and bronchitis.
Broccoli is well known for its ability to protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. It can also help to lower high blood pressure and maintain good cardiovascular health.
Broccoli is also great for building strong muscles and bones as well as for helping to prevent injury or future osteoporosis.
Broccoli is high in fiber which makes it helpful for regulating blood sugar, preventing constipation, and curbing overeating. Broccoli is known to be excellent for vision and eye health and can significantly reduce the risk of macular generation and the need for cataracts.
Broccoli is high in protein and contains more protein per cup, than that of rice, while only having half the calories.
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips. These nutrition powerhouses supply loads of nutrients for few calories.
Fresh, young broccoli should not taste fibrous, woody, or sulfurous. To make sure you get the best tasting broccoli, store the unwashed vegetable in loose or perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Only wash broccoli right before eating, as wet broccoli can develop mold and become limp. Broccoli left at room temperature becomes fibrous and woody.
Broccoli is most nutritious when eaten raw or steamed and can be easily made into a delicious creamy fat-free soup by adding fully steamed broccoli, carrots, and onions to a blender with a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth for a nutrient rich and satisfying meal. Steamed potatoes can also be added for a heartier, creamier version,
Cut in to small ‘trees’, blanched or lightly steam, and dip in your favorite dressings, yogurts, or cheese sauce. Children may enjoy broccoli when it is made fresh and fun.
Adding broccoli to the final cooking minutes of Vegetable Alfredo, Beef Broccoli, and other saucy dishes, will steam broccoli nicely, stirred in to the mix, then serve.
Broccoli can readily be found at your local supermarket, health food store, and/or farmer’s markets.
Broccoli is a cool-season crop that, like spinach, can be grown in the spring or fall. The secret to the best-tasting broccoli is in the seasoning — not the spices, mind you, but the time of year. Broccoli that matures during cool weather produces healthy heads that taste sweeter than those you pick at any other time.
Broccoli can germinate in soil with temperatures as low as 40ºF.
Broccoli requires full sun and moist, fertile soil that’s slightly acidic, with the pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
The right pH and the organic matter help ensure that nutrients, particularly essential micronutrients like boron, are readily available. A boron deficiency can cause broccoli to develop hollow stems, but adding too much is toxic to plants, so a soil test is essential.Work in 2 to 4 inches of rich compost or a thin layer of manure before planting.
For spring plantings, seed or set transplants 2 to 3 weeks before last spring frost date. If you transplant, assume 10 less days for growth or the “days to maturity” on the seed packet.
For fall plantings, seed 85 to 100 days before your average first fall frost. If you live in a warm climate, a fall planting is best, as broccoli thrives in cool weather. Plant seeds in mid- to late-summer in most places.
Plant seeds ½ inch deep, or set transplants slightly deeper than they were grown originally.
Within a row, space your plants 12 to 24 inches apart with 36 inches between each row.
Space plants 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on the side heads you want to harvest.
If you overseed, you will need to thin seedlings to 12 inches apart to give room for the broccoli to grow.
Fertilize three weeks after transplanting. Provide consistent soil moisture with regular watering, especially in drought conditions. Some varieties of broccoli are heat tolerant, but all need moisture. Do not get developing heads wet when watering.
Roots are very shallow, do not cultivate.
In terms of timing: Harvest broccoli when the buds of the head are firm and tight before the heads flower. If you do see yellow petals, harvest immediately.
For best taste, harvest in the morning before the soil heats up. Cut heads from the plant, taking at least 6 inches of stem.
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