Monday, April 22, 2013

Eating in the Green: Broccoli

    Broccoli brings to mind images of green mush smothered in a runny orange blanket; you seeing it? It seems the only way to prepare it, once upon a time, was to boil it to death and hide it in cheese. I loathed it... sitting at the table for hours because it just wouldn't go down.
    Fortunately, this powerhouse of crucifier nutrients found favor in my kitchen. Top number one way to enjoy this green goodness is straight up right from the garden. Dredged across a bowl of hummus or garlic infused sour cream, fresh broccoli is a perfect side dish for a simple meal or a great snack by itself. We can't stop there. Lightly steamed with a hint of lemon and pepper..I like it just a hint cooked with plenty of crunch still left in it. Then, let us not forget roasted..a nice hot oven 400 degrees puts a hint of crisp on the florets..tossed with oil and balsamic.. maybe a few onions, pepper. Can you say excellent side to any main dish?
    This week found us harvesting the first heads of yummy green heads, filling our kitchen with tasty delights. We all know the heads are the main 'food' aspect of this plant, but did you know the stalk can be peeled and eaten or thrown into soups and broths for added nutrient density? Leaves can be eaten as you would a collard..or, again, added to broth/soup. Once we finish enjoying the harvest, spent plants/peelings are a great addition to compost, worm bins, or a source of supplemental fodder for goats and chickens (my donkey loves it, too). Warning..decomposing broccoli gives off a sulfur odor..turn it in well..or better yet, run it through the livestock first :).
     Our love for this healthy green food leads us to plant in abundance and put some up for off season meals, but crucifier vegetables are not good candidates for canning. In my harvest preservation plan, broccoli is lightly blanched and quickly frozen to preserve its goodness and keep it full of nutrients and ready for a quick meal.
       What about you? Have tasty broccoli stories to share? I am always game to try a new one!


Michelle said...

I wish I could get it to grow here. We eat so much of it. It would save a lot on my food bill.

Simply Scaife Family said...

It took me years to try it because we have a short window before it bolts or buttons. I understand your plight.