Harvest of the Month: Broccoli | SierraSun.com

Harvest of the Month: Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse! One cup of cooked broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange. This same cup also provides 10 percent of your daily iron requirement, and the vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron.

Although broccoli is a mainstay in today’s American diet, it was considered an exotic crop in the United States as recently as the 1920s. Broccoli has been around for more than 2,000 years and was a popular vegetable in ancient Rome. It was grown in Italy and France during the sixteenth century and Thomas Jefferson recorded planting broccoli in his Virginia garden in 1767. Yet, broccoli was only found in backyard gardens until the 1920s. In 1922, the D’Arrigo brothers, with seeds they brought from Italy, planted a crop of broccoli in San Jose, Calif. and shipped a few crates to the Italian community in Boston. By 1925, the broccoli market was established. This February, TTUSD elementary school students tasted broccoli in their classrooms as part of the Harvest of the Month program.

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse! One cup of cooked broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange. This same cup also provides 10 percent of your daily iron requirement, and the vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron. It is also a great source of Vitamin A, folic acid and fiber. In addition, one cup of cooked broccoli contains 74 mg of bone-building calcium. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family along with cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables contain a variety of phytochemicals that may help prevent cancer, and heart disease. It is also a good source of the trace mineral chromium which may play a role in preventing diabetes in some people.

Choose broccoli with crowns that have dark green, blue-green, or purplish-green tightly closed buds, with crisp, firm stems. Intense colors are a good indicator of hearty nutritional content. Refrigerate unwashed broccoli in a plastic bag. It is best if used with in three days of purchase. Wash thoroughly before using and serve raw or cook by steaming, stir-frying, or lightly microwaving. Boiling causes some of the vitamins and minerals to be lost. Broccoli makes a quick and easy side vegetable, is a great addition to salads, stir-frys, and pizza, and is a quick and healthy snack served raw or slightly blanched with a low fat dip.

” Maria Martin, MPH, RD is a member of the Nutrition Coalition and a Wellness Dietitian. The Nutrition Coalition is funded and supported by the Tahoe Health System through the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance. Contact us at 530-587-3769, ext. 228 or mmartin@tfhd.com.

Jay Veregge, the executive chef at the Big Water Grille, has shared his recipe for Broccoli Canton. Jay Veregge brings a wealth of experience to Lake Tahoe. He trained in France and has extensive working experience in the Bay Area and Sonoma. Veregge calls his style “market basket cuisine.”- “My signature is seasonal local and regional foods,” he says. “Our dishes are a surprise and each has a cutting edge, unique, enticing twist…but approachable.” Try this quick and healthy recipe with a weeknight meal.

One head cleaned broccoli

1-2 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger

3 oz. water chestnuts

1 Tbs. chopped garlic

2 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbs. brown sugar

Blanch broccoli head in boiling water for four minutes. Remove from water and chill in ice bath for one minute. Slice cooled broccoli into small flowerets. Heat oil in non-stick pan over medium heat. Add broccoli and saute with garlic, ginger, and water chestnuts until heated through and crisp tender. Add soy sauce and brown sugar and cook until blended. Serve warm.

” Jay Veregge, executive chef at the Big Water Grille

1. The word broccoli comes from the Latin word brachium, which means branch or arm.

2. On March 22, 1990, President George H. Bush declared that he did not like broccoli and was not going to eat it anymore. He banned broccoli from the White House and Air Force One menus. In response, California broccoli growers shipped 10 tons of broccoli to the White House.

3. California produces 90 percent of the U.S. broccoli crop in the Salinas Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

4. Worldwide, China, India and the United States are the top three producers of broccoli.

5. Over the last 25 years, broccoli consumption has increased 940 percent!

6. In Tree House of Horror XI, Homer Simson is killed by eating broccoli.

7. The average person in the United States eats 4.5 pounds of broccoli each year.

8. Tom “Broccoli” Landers holds the current world record for eating one pound of broccoli in 92 seconds.

9. A compound in broccoli appears to be able to eliminate Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria responsible for ulcers.

10. In a recent survey, kids identified broccoli as one of their top three favorite vegetables (along with carrots corn and green peas).

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