Broccoli historyBroccoli, botanically-known as Brassica oleracea italica, is native to the Mediterranean. It was engineered from a cabbage relative by the ancient Etruscans, who were considered to be horticultural geniuses. Its English name, broccoli, is derived from the Italian brocco and the Latin bracchium meaning arm, branch, or shoot. When first introduced in England, broccoli was referred to as "Italian asparagus." Although commercial cultivation of broccoli dates back to the 1500s, it did not become a popular foodstuff in the United States until the early 1920s.
Like the artichoke, broccoli is essentially a large edible flower. The stalks and flower florets are eaten both raw and cooked, and have a flavor reminiscent of cabbage. The bitter leaves are usually discarded. although some cooks do enjoy them prepared in the manner of chard or kale. Broccoli is related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
If you like broccoli, you may also like to try broccoflower, a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Broccolini, also called baby broccoli, is another new trademarked cross between broccoli and kale.
Broccoli is rich in calcium and has anti-oxidant properties which helps prevent some forms of cancer. The same sulphur that can cause gas from over-cooked broccoli also has beneficial antiviral and antibiotic properties.
More About Broccoli and Broccoli Recipes:• Broccoli Cooking Tips
• Broccoli Selection and Storage
• Broccoli Measures, Weights, Substitutions, and Equivalents
• Broccoli History
• Broccoli Recipes
Broccoli Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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