Enjoy Broccoli and Cauliflower In Fall Meals

Posted: November 17, 2011

Broccoli and cauliflower are fall vegetables loaded with nutrients for good health. They are part of the cruciferous family which have many health benefits including reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

             Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium. One-half cup of cooked, chopped broccoli provides the same amount of vitamin C as 1/2 cup of orange juice. Broccoli’s dark green color indicates that it is a good source of vitamin A. Cauliflower is a rich source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium.
     When selecting broccoli, look for firm, green, tight heads. Heads should be green or even purple. Avoid heads with yellow or gray areas. Cauliflower should be solid, heavy and unblemished, and should have fresh green leaves. Trim any brown or black spots on the head just before you use the cauliflower
     Fresh broccoli and cauliflower should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag and refrigerated. For best quality, use within 3-5 days.
     When preparing the cruciferous vegetables, wash them under cool running water. Never allow them to sit in water as they will lose water soluble nutrients. Cauliflower may turn an unattractive yellowish color if you cook it in hard or alkaline water. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the water and it will stay white.
     Both broccoli and cauliflower are excellent stir-fry vegetables and may be substituted for each other in most recipes. Here’s a stir fry recipe you can try.

Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Broccoli
1 Tbsp. margarine or butter
½ cup onion, chopped
½ lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. oil
1 bunch broccoli, cut into flowers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (6 oz) sliced water chestnuts
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 bouillon cube
¾ cup boiling water
     Melt margarine or butter and add onions. Sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Heat oil. Add broccoli and garlic; cook for 3 minutes. Add water chestnuts and cook 2 minutes longer. Blend cornstarch, sugar and ginger with soy sauce. Dissolve bouillon in water and pour into pan. Add cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until thickened. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until broccoli is just crisp tender. Add mushrooms and onions. Serve over rice.

Karen Thomas is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension of Lackawanna County.