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Facts about Broccoli for Kids


Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable.The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to “the flowering top of a cabbage”.

  • Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors d’œuvre trays.
  • Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea.
  • Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk.
  • Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.
  • Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants but did not become widely known until the 1920s.
  • Broccoli is high in vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium.
  • Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled.
  • Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
  • The most familiar is Calabrese broccoli, often referred to simply as “broccoli”, named after Calabria in Italy.
  • Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks.
  • Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern ItalySpain, and the United Kingdom.
  • It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.
  • Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), and Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group).
  • Broccolini or “Tender Stem Broccoli” is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli.
  • In North America, production is primarily in California.
  • Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that does poorly in hot summer weather.
  • When the cluster of flowers, also referred to as a “head” of broccoli, appear in the center of the plant, the cluster is green.