The name broccoli is derived from 'brocco', meaning a shoot. Good broccoli should have deep-colored, densely packed heads and any that is yellow, wilted or whose flower heads are beginning to open should be ignored.

Broccoli has the highest respiration rate at any fruit or vegetable, so it is the most perishable. It must be cooled to freezing point as soon as possible after harvest and the temperature kept low at all times to prevent the flower heads continuing to open.It is a good source of vitamins A, C B1(thiamine) and fiber.

Preparation for cooking requires merely cutting off any damaged outer leaves and woody stems and breaking into suitably sized florets.  Thick stems are best split in halves to ensure the delicate flower heads are not over-cooked while waiting for the stems to become tender.

Broccoli is very easy to over-cook and fresh broccoli may only need 5 minutes cooking time. Steaming is a good method or boiling in a small amount of liquid but flavor is rapidly lost with over-cooking. Being fairly bland, broccoli is frequently served with a white sauce, cheese spread, hollandaise or other sauce for extra flavor.  



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