From: CSA, Recipes, Veggie Facts

You and broccoli really need to be BFFs

Broccoli is one of those brassicas that are either loved or hated. Why does broccoli get a bad rap? We have no idea. We love broccoli and think it’s pretty special. Maybe if you just knew a little bit more about broccoli, you’d think it was special too.

Broccoli is like that kid in middle school who wore thick glasses and too short pants but then grew up to be Mr Universe. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface of broccoli and you’re going to want to get to know it well before it becomes that “it” veggie that all your friends are talking about.

Being part of the cabbage family, the broccoli crown we cut and eat is actually the flowerhead of the plant. Once the broccoli plant becomes overgrown, these heads burst into brilliant, bright yellow flowers. In fact, the work broccoli comes from the Italian “broccolo” which means “the flowering crest of cabbage”.  Okay, okay, coming from Italian you thought it would be more romantic and less obviously descriptive, but it’s still pretty cool.

While Italians have valued broccoli since the time of the Roman Empire, broccoli was only brought to North America by Italian immigrants early in the 18th century. And it wasn’t widely appreciated in North American until the 1920’s.

Seriously, it took 200+ years to catch on. Sometimes you have to watch out for those slow starters!

One of the cool things about local broccoli is that, even though it’s a cool weather crop that thrives in our climate, Canada doesn’t even rank in the top 20 broccoli producing countries. Much of the broccoli in Canadian grocery stores is supplied by the States, but in reality our broccoli can come from many far flung places in the world. In fact, the following countries rank above Canada in broccoli production: Japan, Jordan, Guatemala, Netherlands, Syria, Belgium and Morocco.

So, having locally grown broccoli in your life is a pretty special thing. 

Broccoli isn’t just your daily dose of dietary fiber, this guy really knows how to pump you up.

A single serving of broccoli (roughly 100g or 3.5oz), contains 12% of your daily Vitamin A, 10% of your daily Vitamin B-6 and a whopping 148% of your daily Vitamin C. Which means by eating a 100g of broccoli a day, you’re giving your bones, skin, immune system, reproductive system, vision,  liver, hair and metabolism a serious boost.

On top of that, broccoli is a proven anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer veggie. However, know that if you’re boiling your broccoli that the anti-cancer benefits are greatly reduced. Glucoraphanin, the anti-cancer compound that broccoli is rich in, works by boosting your DNA repair in cells and helps to block the growth of cancer cells. It even has been shown to stop over-rapid aging. Don’t worry though, if you’re steaming, stir-frying or eating broccoli raw, you’ll still be getting pretty much the full value of glucoraphanin. 

Still looking for ways to make broccoli palatable for you or your family? Try out some of these stellar, go-to recipes. From comfort food kids will love to those fancy dishes you want to make to impress your guests and give yourself your weekly boost of validation, we’ve got ideas for you!

Sauteed broccoli, tomatoes and bacon. What’s not to like about that?!

Mashed potato cakes with broccoli and cheese. If you need to “hide” such a gorgeous veggie, here’s a great way to put two of your CSA veggies to use.

Creamy Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli. Trust us and just add this recipe to your weekly dinner roster now.

Broccoli and Cheese Breakfast Melts. Breakfast only? Hell no. We eat these whenever we can. Kids love them, perfect for packed lunches, these melts can really do just about anything.

Spiced Broccoli with Paneer. This is a perfect vegetarian meal with a kick. Ramp up the spices to suit your taste.

Broccoli Tortellini Soup. This soup is perfect for the changeable weather on the horizon.

Broccoli Souffle. Want to look impressive but without the intimidating recipe? This soufflé is just the way to astound your supper table without all that fear of failure.

Roasted Broccoli with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette and Marcona Almonds. Smoked paprika. Need we say anything else?

Halloumi with broccoli tabbouleh and honey-harissa dressing. Okay, so we haven’t made this one, but don’t you want to invite someone over for supper with this on the menu?!