Healthy You

Broccoli – The super veggie!

The new superfood in town, broccoli looks like a stunted tree belonging to the cabbage family. A cruciferous vegetable, the word broccoli is derived from the Italian word broccolo. A plural of broccoli, it implies “the flowering crest of a cabbage” and is entirely edible – head and stalk. There are three common types of broccoli. The most familiar is known as Calabrese broccoli, the broccoli we know of.  

Green broccoli having firm and dense flowerets are in demand in India. The varieties are KTS-I, Pushpa, Solan Green, PalamVichitra, and Aishwarya. 

It is from the cultivar group of Brassica oleracea. It is an annual plant which grows rapidly reaching its harvest maturity in 70-150 days (depending on conducive weather of course.) Broccoli can only be harvested manually. Farmers use a knife to harvest this nutritious produce. It can be cultivated in India in places with less rainfall and in the winter season. It can be grown in a variety of soils but moist and loam soils are ideal.  

Dense with nutrients 

Broccoli is a super source of calcium, potassium and folic acid while being low in calories. In vitamins, it is graced with vitamin C, A, and K. For a healthy diet, it is best to stir-fry or steam broccoli because boiling can rob it of its nutritive value. It is also high in fibre.

Many dishes can be prepared with broccoli. It is best eaten as a stir-fried salad mix or in a baked dish or pasta. Broccoli and almond soup is a favourite for winter dinners. The healthy crunch that you get from this vegetable is incredible.   

Select it well 

When selecting broccoli at the mart, pick the one that is deep green, boasts firm, sturdy stalk and an enticing cluster of buds. Broccoli that is going yellow or wilting should not be purchased.  

Broccoli should be stored in a loose perforated bag or with air pockets. It should be refrigerated and not stored outside. If you do store it outside it should be consumed as soon as possible.  

Wash it just before you use it. Pre-washed broccoli could go limp and get mould. 

Though it is very nutritious and safe if you are on medication, it is best that you inform the doctor before adding it to your diet. 

Those allergic to cruciferous vegetables should take care before putting broccoli on their plate. 

Trivia

Broccoli is costly because of the increased demand for it. As a new age superfood, it is fast acquiring the status as gourmet produce which is driving its demand. To add to that, the weather for this cool-season, heat-sensitive crop can be tricky. It requires stable climes. To top it all it is tough to harvest broccoli because of manual labour. 

Sources 

kiran.nic.in 

britannica.com

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