The October Vegetable of the Month is Broccoli!
You might know broccoli for its strong taste and smell when cooked. This is because it’s considered a cruciferous vegetable—meaning it has sulfur-containing compounds. Not only does this create a boost for your senses, but it’s also a powerhouse for cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol, eye health, and more!
Broccoli is a Good Source of:
- Fiber—great for liver and digestive health
- Vitamin C—a powerful antioxidant for your immune system
- Vitamin K—aiding bone and brain health
- Potassium—helps body tissues and cell function
- Iron—improves muscle and brain function
Did You Know?
- Compared to most vegetables, broccoli’s protein content is quite high—making up 29% of its weight!
- Broccoli is part of the cabbage family.
- Broccoli wasn’t well known in the United States until the 1920s.
- One cup of broccoli only contains 55 calories!
- If you have a lot of fresh broccoli and can’t get it eaten before it goes bad, blanch it and then freeze it! Blanch broccoli by boiling for 3 minutes or steaming for 5 minutes and then placing it in ice water immediately after. Blanching vegetables before freezing them is one of the best ways to preserve flavor, color, and nutrients.
When to Harvest and How to Store Broccoli
Broccoli is ready to eat when the buds are bright, tight, and compact. A sign the vegetable is going bad is when the buds start to appear yellow or brown, and take on a limp. Store broccoli in the refrigerator wrapped in damp paper towels or with the stem submerged in water. Never store in a sealed container, as it prefers air circulation!
Tips to Get Children to Eat Broccoli
- Let them dip raw broccoli in their favorite condiment, like ranch dressing
- Cut florets into small pieces and add to their favorite pasta sauce
- Use a grater to shred into small piece and add to hamburger patties, meatballs, casserole-like dishes, or soups
- Top roasted or steamed broccoli with melted cheese
- Keep trying! Offer broccoli in different ways multiple times. It takes time for kids to warm up to certain foods. But the more you offer it the better the chance they will find a variation they like.
Ways to Prepare Broccoli
Let’s Get Cooking
Steamed Broccoli with Dill Dressing
- 1 bunch broccoli, about 2 pounds
- 3 carrots
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 3 teaspoons fresh dill
- Mix ingredients for the dill dressing and set aside (olive oil, black pepper, dill weed)
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil while preparing vegetables
- Rinse the broccoli, then trim and peel the stems. Cut the stem into 2-inch strips, then cut the florets into small uniform pieces and set aside
- Peel and cut the carrots into 2-inch strips
- When water is boiling, add carrots and broccoli stems to the water. Cook for 1 minute
- Add broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook
- Drain the water and rinse vegetables in cold water. Draining the vegetables again until all excess water is gone
- Place vegetables in a large bowl and gently toss with the dressing. Serve immediately
- 6 cups of broccoli (chopped)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 red onion (medium, peeled, and diced)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 bacon slices (cooked and crumbled)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise, low-fat
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing well
- Chill for 1–2 hours before serving
For more creative broccoli-based recipes visit MyPlate Kitchen! With so many possibilities, like Cream of Broccoli Soup, Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, and a Broccoli Omelet you’re sure to find something that is tasty for the whole family!
Can’t get enough fruits and veggies? Be sure to check out Harvest of the Month, a downloadable educational program designed to make learning about fruits and veggies easy, tasty, and fun!