Everything You Need to Know About Broccoli Basics

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When I was a little kid I fell for the broccoli trick. Do you know it? It’s the one where you tell a small child that they should eat broccoli because it looks like wee trees. But broccoli isn’t a tree and why would you want to eat a tree anyway?? But somehow this scam works. Lucky for me I bear broccoli no ill will; I love it to this day. If you do too (or want to love it more) here’s a collection of the best ways to cook, flavor, and enjoy broccoli every day.

The Broccoli Top 5

Five fascinating things for the broccoli-curious.

Broccoli Nutrition

Broccoli is an incredibly nutritious vegetable, full of Vitamin C and other good nutrients.(100g of broccoli gives you about 150% of your daily Vitamin C recommended amount.) There are 34 calories in 100g of broccoli.

Is Broccoli Low-Carb or Keto-Friendly?

Broccoli has about 4.5g of carbs per 100g, which means that broccoli is relatively friendly to low-carb and keto-oriented eating budgets. The keto and low-carb eating practices rely on eating lower amounts of net carbs (carbs minus the fiber). Depending on one’s carb budget, broccoli can be a smart and satisfying way to eat nutritiously while following this eating practice. 

  • More about net carbs here.

Broccoli Varieties

Most of the large-headed, deep green broccoli you find in grocery stores is some variety of broccoli Calabrese, which was brought to us thanks to Italian immigrants early in the 20th century.

You may also see purple broccoli which is a variant, or broccoli Romesco which has a stunning fractal structure and is a cross of broccoli and cauliflower.

What Is Broccoli Rabe?

Broccoli rabe, on the other hand, while it shares a name with regular ol’ broccoli, is actually more closely related to turnips and mustard greens, as a bitter, cruciferous, leafy vegetable. (It’s also called broccoli raab and rapini.) If you love bitter greens with a spicy kick, broccoli rabe is the king and is so good sautéed with olive oil and garlic.

What Is Broccolini?

Broccolini looks like a smaller, more slender broccoli. It’s actually a name brand (which is why we always capitalize Broccolini!) and it resulted from a cross of broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It’s milder and more tender than regular broccoli, and much sweeter than broccoli rabe.

  • Read more about the differences between broccoli, broccoli rabe, and Broccolini: What’s the Difference Between Broccoli, Broccolini, Broccoli Rabe, and Chinese Broccoli?

Where Does Broccoli Come From?

In the United States, most broccoli is grown in California, which grows broccoli year-round and accounts for about 94% of all the broccoli grown in the country. Internationally, about 3/4 of the world’s broccoli is grown in India and in China. (Wikipedia)

Can Dogs Eat Broccoli?

Yes, moderate amounts of broccoli are fine for dogs according to the American Kennel Club, as long as it is cooked without fats and seasonings. A large amount in their diet can cause gastric irritation, however. As always, if you have questions about feeding your pup human food, discuss with your veterinarian first.

The Best Ways to Cook Broccoli

Ready for a quick broccoli side dish? Here are the best ways to cook broccoli, fresh or frozen.

  • How To Cook Broccoli, 5 Ways
  • How to Steam Broccoli in the Microwave
  • How To Make Roasted Broccoli
  • Oven-Roasted Frozen Broccoli

The Best Way to Store Broccoli (Plus: How Long Does Broccoli Last?)

Fresh heads of broccoli should be stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for 7 to 10 days. Once the flowerets begin to turn yellow the broccoli is starting to spoil. (It probably won’t make you sick but it won’t taste as good.) Definitely discard if you see it get slimy or if it smells bad.

The Best Ways to Use Up Leftover Broccoli

The easiest way to use up leftover cooked or raw broccoli is just to eat it! Put it on toast or use it in another way for breakfast (more ideas here). Or use it in one of these recipes. If you have a little more time, you can freeze fresh broccoli for later using the method below.

How To Freeze Broccoli

To save fresh broccoli, chop into bite-sized pieces then blanch by quickly dropping into boiling water then draining and rinsing in cool water. Freeze in airtight bags or containers for up to 12 months. Thaw overnight in fridge or cook directly from frozen.

Our Top 20 Broccoli Recipes

What’s your favorite recipe or use for broccoli? Any favorite way to cook it?

31 Days of Vegetables: How to fall in love with vegetables in 31 days. How many of these splendid veg have you eaten this month? Take a look at the whole list and take our July challenge to eat every single one!

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