Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Produce of the Month: Broccoli

Did you know that broccoli contains some 3% of protein and is one of the richest vegetable sources of calcium, iron and magnesium.  Moreover, broccoli is very rich in vitamins A and C, exceeding even oranges in the concentration of the latter.               

Did you know that people who eat an abundance of broccoli have fewer cancers of the colon, breast, cervix, lungs, prostate, esophagus, larynx, and bladder.  Broccoli contains indoles, which can help inactivate harmful estrogens that can promote the growth of tumors, sulforaphane, which stimulates cells to produce cancer-fighting enzymes, and beta-carotene, another cancer fighter. 
(information provided by:

Eating Broccoli, Yum!                                                                                                          
Broccoli tastes great raw with your favorite dipping sauce or in a salad.
Steaming broccoli is a great way to soften up the raw crunch.  Kids love steamed broccoli because it is sweet, juicy and mild.
No fresh vegetables in your fridge for dinner?  Try stocking frozen broccoli in your freezer for a last minute vegetable side.  Frozen vegetables without added sauce or sodium are a great alternative to fresh produce.
Kids won’t eat broccoli? Try calling them Dinosaur Trees or Princess Flowers.  Most important, don’t give up!
Want to add more nutrition to your pasta sauce? Try mincing raw broccoli, then lightly sauté it and add it to your favorite tomato sauce.

March 24th is Eat Your Broccoli Day  at the Fernbank cafeteria        
In order to participate, remind your kids to either buy school lunch on March 24 and choose the steamed broccoli as their side, or pack broccoli in their lunchbox.  We will be walking around the cafeteria that day, encouraging students to taste their broccoli.  If they do, they will get a fun tractor Farm to School stamp on their hand.  It’s cool to eat broccoli!

Growing Broccoli                                                                                                                           
Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family which is high in vitamin D and A.  In our Georgia climate, it is considered a cool season crop.  For best results, start with young plants and plant them between February 15th to March 30th.  For fall crops, plant from August 1st to September 20th.  Space plants 8 to 10 inches apart in rows that are three feet apart.  For the best production, plants need 4 to 6 hours of direct sun.  Keep them well-watered and beds free of weeds.

To harvest, cut the central head with 5 to 6 inches of stem, after it is fully developed but before individual flowers begin to open (they are yellow).  Once you remove the center head, side shoots are stimulated and develop quickly.  Harvest may continue for several weeks.
(Information provided by Erica Glasener)

Simple Roasted Broccoli                                                                                       
2 heads broccoli, separated into florets 
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil  
1 tsp. sea salt (kosher salt)  
½ tsp. ground black pepper  
1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with oil, salt, pepper and garlic.  Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven until the florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15-20 minutes.  Remove and transfer to a serving platter. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to the Farm to School Commmittee! Eat Your Broccoli Day was a roaring success.

    Your TWO bulletin boards have been so creative and fun and have gotten everyone talking about broccoli. The Mr. Marshall-loves-broccoli one made every passer-by smile.

    But you have topped yourselves witht the "converted" one this morning. There was a crowd of folks oohing and aahing over it and chatting and pulling others in to admire it.

    What a wonderful way to foster community-building in our school! Thank you all for your hard work.