Broccoli-The Best Health Vegetable

Botanical Name: Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae).
Family: Cabbage

Description:Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means “cabbage sprout.” Because of its different components, broccoli provides a range of tastes and textures, from soft and flowery (the floret) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Do not let the smell of the sulfur compounds that are released while cooking keep you away from this highly nutritious vegetable. …….CLICK & SEE
It is classified as the Italica Cultivar Group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli possesses abundant fleshy flower heads, usually green in colour, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The large mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species, but broccoli is green rather than white. In the United States, the term refers exclusively to the form with a single large head. This form is sometimes called “Calabrese” in the United Kingdom, where sprouting (non-heading) types and those with underdeveloped flower buds are also sold as broccoli.

Varieties:
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is sometimes called Calabrese in Great Britain and simply ‘broccoli’ in North America. It has large (10 – 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks, and is named after Calabria in Italy where it was first cultivated. It is a cool season annual crop.

Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. It is planted in May to be harvested during the winter or early the following year in temperate climates.

Romanesco broccoli has a distinctive fractal appearance of its heads, and is yellow-green in colour. It is technically in the Botrytis (cauliflower) cultivar group

Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.


PLANT CHARACTERISTICS

Overview. The edible part of the broccoli plant is a tender stem and unopened flower buds. They are a good source of Vitamin A, calcium, and riboflavin or B2. Broccoli and cauliflower are quite similar morphologically, but the broccoli produces a green head with longer and more slender floret stalks than cauliflower. After the main stem has been harvested, the axillary buds that are lower on the main stem are induced to develop into smaller heads, which can also be harvested in home gardens. They are not harvested in commercial production....CLICK & SEE
Cultivation, preparation and nutritional value:
Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that does poorly in hot summer weather. Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include: cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), and Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group). Chinese broccoli (Alboglabra Group) is also a cultivar group of Brassica oleracea. It is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors-d’oeuvre trays. It is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties including diindolylmethane and selenium. The 3,3′-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anticancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are reduced if the vegetable is boiled. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains far more betacarotene than the florets

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Ideal for harvest
Root System. The seedling will generally produce a red colored hypocotyl, two notched cotyledons and a tap root with lateral roots. Usually during transplanting the tap root is damaged and therefore many adventitious roots will arise. Most of the roots are 0.5 mm with few reaching 1 cm thick. In the beginning the roots are quite shallow and the lateral roots are growing horizontally. The roots can be found up to 3 feet away from the plant. After a few months of growing some of the roots will mine vertically to a depth of 1.5-2 m. The majority of the roots occur in the top 20-30 cm. The root system that develops is influenced greatly by water and cultivation.
Stem. The stem is waxy, usually unbranched and, from it arise the leaves and flower heads.
Leaves. The leaves are simple, alternate and without stipules. Many times they are pinnately lobed.
Flower. Branched flower clusters form on 2-2 ½ ft tall plants. The flowers are bright yellow. There are four sepals, six stamens, two carpal and four petals. Broccoli flowers have a superior ovary. The buds are dark green and tightly packed on top of the plant. Broccoli exposed to 40°F will initiate flower primordia much quicker than plants grown in higher temperatures. The flowers are pollinated mostly by bees.
Seed. The fruit of broccoli is a glabrous silique. There are between 10-30 seed per silique. About 325 seed will constitute a gram, and approximately 9,000 seeds make up an ounce. It will take about 144,000 broccoli seed to make up a pound. The seed should be planted ½ inches deep. It will take the seed about 10 days to germinate.
In popular culture
In 1928, when broccoli was still something of a novelty in the United States, a cartoon appeared in the New Yorker magazine. A mother and child are seated at the table, and the mother says, “It’s broccoli, dear.” The child replies, “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”

In Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, Tony Wilson explains that James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli invented broccoli by cross-pollinating cauliflower and “a green thing”, then using the profits to fund the Bond movies.

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Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli
http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/broccoli.html

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One thought on “Broccoli-The Best Health Vegetable”

  1. I’m a broccoli convert since reading this article about the benefits of broccoli. Thanks for the reinforcement. Now….who has some good broccoli recipes??

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