Broccoli belongs to a family of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables and its close relatives include brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. When it comes to great-tasting nutrition, broccoli is a super-food with many health benefits.

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Buy it

When buying broccoli, choose vegetables that have a uniform green color with no major brown or yellowing spots. The broccoli stem should feel firm and the crown should be tight and springy; soft stems or limp florets are a sign of old broccoli. When selecting broccoli, be aware that the stronger its smell the older it is. Store broccoli in the crisper drawer in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Broccoli should keep fairly well for at least a week.

Add it

If adding broccoli to a cold salad, first blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and then immediately rinse with cold water. Blanching for a short period of time will bring out the flavor of the broccoli and brightens its color.

Enhance the flavor of broccoli with flavored butter, lemon juice, flavored vinegar, or seasonings, such as basil, dill, caraway seed, oregano, tarragon, and thyme.

For a flavorful side dish, cover broccoli with a cheese sauce and brown under the broiler.

Prep it

Cut the florets into the size you need, but don't cut through the buds-instead, use a small knife to cut lengthwise through the stem. This method lets the florets separate easily but keeps the buds intact. You get fewer "bud crumbs" (which can burn easily), and the florets will retain their tree-like form.

Do not overcook broccoli. Overcooking will cause it to break apart, lose its color, diminish its taste, and will cause the lose of many nutrients.

Try it tonight

Laura McIntosh