Oklahoma Vegetable of the Month: Broccoli
Thomas Jefferson introduced broccoli in the US. He recorded his planting of broccoli on May 27, 1767. Although broccoli has been grown in the US for over 200 years it did not become a popular food until the 1920s, when Italian immigrants began planting and selling it. Broccoli was a popular vegetable in ancient Rome.
Broccoli is classified as a brassica vegetable, along with cabbage and cauliflower. It grows best in cool weather. In Oklahoma gardens it grows well if planted early in the spring or late in the summer for a fall garden.
Ounce for ounce, boiled broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk, according to the USDA's nutrient database. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section. Researchers have found that, among other benefits, eating broccoli can help prevent several kinds of cancer, strokes and cataracts.
Broccoli (1/2 cup raw)
Play with Your Food: We Eat the Broccoli Flower
Most kids first know broccoli as trees because they look like trees. Allow students to examine some broccoli florets. Ask which part of the plant we eat. Explain to students that the part of the broccoli we eat is actually the flower of the plant. More specifically, they are florets getting ready to bloom. Once they have bloomed, they don't taste as good. Broccoli that has started to bloom has a yellowish cast to it, because broccoli flowers are yellow. Ask studentsto name other vegetable flowers that we eat? (cauliflower)
Game: Root, Leaf, Fruit, Stem or Flower
- Players sit in a circle, with one student (the caller) in the center.
- The caller points to any other student and says, "Root, Leaf, Fruit, Stem or Flower - Flower."
- By the count of ten, the student must then name a vegetable not previously mentioned whose flower (or root or leaf or stem) we eat.
- If successful, he or she sits in the center of the circle. If not, the same student remains in center, calling on a different student to name a specific food.
Be a Food Explorer: Broccoli Forest
Make Broccoli Trees, with dipping sauce, using carrots for trunks and broccoli florets as the crown. Provide vegetables that are roots (carrots), stems (celery) and fruit (peppers). Students will sort according to the part of the plant we eat.