Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family. It didn’t arrive on U.S. soil until the 1920s, when it was brought from Europe by Italian immigrants. The entire plant is edible, with the flower often being found in vegetable trays, steamed or boiled. The stems may be eaten the same way or made into broccoli slaw. Even the leaves are edible, with some people preparing them as you would collard greens. Broccoli boasts high vitamin C, dietary fiber and the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family. When selecting broccoli, look for medium-dark green heads with tightly spaced beads and avoid any that seem yellowed, limp or feel spongy. Broccoli is grown year round in the Santa Maria Valley’s ideal conditions.
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