Broccoli Nutrition, Selection, Storage, and Availability
The American Cancer Society has named broccoli an “anti-cancerous” food because it is so dense in nutrients. Broccoli is high in Vitamin A, calcium, folate, iron, and Vitamin C. Broccoli should be 8-10 inches in length with 3-6 inch wide heads, with dark green color and no yellowing or mush heads, and no limpness – avoid tough, woody broccoli. Broccoli can be stored fresh in loose or perforated bags in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, unwashed until just prior to using. Broccoli can also be frozen for long term storage with proper preparation. Fresh Broccoli is available in Wisconsin from July through mid-October.
In Europe, broccoli was first cultivated by the Romans. The name broccoli has developed from “brachium” which means branch, describing the structure of the plant. The leaves of the broccoli plant are also edible and nutritious and are similar to collard greens – they should be picked and consumed from younger broccoli plants because they become more bitter as the plant matures.
Information from the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin - Extension.
Wisconsin Growing Season Guide