Farmer’s markets are bursting with great fruits and veggies this time of year. Let’s talk about one of the more basic ones: here’s how to use broccoli.
You’ll often start to see this Wisconsin-local veggie harvested in late June to October.
Seems like you either love it or hate broccoli—genetic predisposition explains why some people taste the bitter compounds in the vegetable while others cannot. What isn’t contested is that broccoli has one of the highest nutritive values of any vegetable. It is particularly high in vitamins C and A, and has a heap of other vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.
How to Select:
Look for firm heads and florets that are tightly closed and either dark green or purple-green. Avoid budding broccoli or yellowing broccoli, which may be bitter.
How to Store:
Wrapped in paper towels in a loosely-closed produce bag, broccoli will last up to a week.
How to Prepare:
Both the florets and the stalk are edible; tougher stalks may require peeling before cooking or consuming. Raw broccoli is a nice addition to a salad. The vegetable can be sautéed, broiled, stir-fried, steamed, or added to cooked/cold salads and soups; but broccoli transforms into a star when roasted. Even people who are normally broccoli-averse may find the crispy, mellow flavor of roasted broccoli much preferred to raw or steamed preparations. If your kitchen has an air fryer–try air frying broccoli for a crispy side dish.
Recipe: Chinese Beef and Broccoli
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1 pound broccoli or broccolini, large florets
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
- 2 tablespoons ginger root, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil, or canola
- 1 pound steak, sliced
- Cooked rice
Put on a large pot of water to boil, then blanch the broccoli by dropping it into the boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.
In a cup, mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, rice vinegar, chicken stock and sesame oil, then whisk in the cornstarch. Reserve. Mince the garlic and ginger and reserve. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat until hot, then add the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Toss in the beef and sear briefly one side before stirring. When the outsides of the strips are browned but the insides are still pink, add the garlic and ginger and stir for a few seconds, then add the oyster sauce mixture. Stir constantly until thickened, then add the broccoli and toss to heat through and coat with sauce. Serve hot over rice.
Calories: 556, Fat: 17 g, Cholesterol: 59 mg, Sodium: 529 mg, Carbohydrate: 67 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 31 g
If raw or steamed broccoli is not your thing (Um, like me. See “Health Benefits” section above, mom, it’s science!!), do not give up on it for good–try it roasted! Lightly crisp browning is a magical transformation. The Italian Vegetable Cookbook by Michele Scicolone and Alan Richardson has an incredibly simple recipe for Lemon-Roasted Broccoli. The book is available through the Hudson Public Library system.
What about you?
Broccoli: friend or foe to your dinner plate? What are your favorite recipes to tempt broccoli-averse people to try this vegetable again? Join the discussion on our Facebook page! Want to see more local, fresh produce in your fridge? Consider becoming an owner of the Hudson Grocery Cooperative—which will be a locally-owned, full-service grocery store that offers diverse food and product choices including organic, sustainable and regionally sourced options for our community.
Image and recipe credit: Welcome to the Table