Because broccoli is listed as the highest rated food on the Definitive Food Index, the following interesting facts and information are given:
1. Broccoli originally evolved from a wild cabbage plant found in Europe around 2,000 years ago. Broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food amongst the Italians. It was first introduced to the USA by these immigrants, but had not become widely known until the 1920s. The first mention of this green vegetable in the US was in 1806, when it was known as green broccoli. This is why it is at the top of our green vegetables list.
2. Broccoli is high in vitamins C, K and A as well as a source of dietary fibre; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties and was emphasized as such by President George Bush. Broccoli is now recognised as the vegetable most likely to be prominent in fighting cancer.
3. The nutritional properties of broccoli are greatly diminished if it is boiled for more than 10 minutes. (Perish the thought) Steaming is thought to be far more nutritious methods of cooking broccoli. Compared with being eaten raw in salads, steaming broccoli reduces the folic acid content by 15% and boiling reduces it by 25%
The only drawback with the steaming method is that it required more energy than other techniques because the heat energy does not carry to the food directly – most energy being lost in the water.
Microwaving is recommended as an alternative as this process is short and swift.
Scientists claim The Broccoli Brain Boost so it may well deserve its place at the top of the green vegetables list.
Eating foods rich in magnesium such as broccoli and spinach could boost memory and brain power.
Research suggests that an increase in magnesium in the brain improves learning and memory.
The study, published in 'Neuron' said that increasing magnesium intake may stave off the effects of ageing. Richard Alleyne.
Next on the green vegetable list of 'most disliked culprits' are:
1. Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts developed from wild cabbage and were named after the Belgian capital city following the popularity of this green vegetable in the early 16th century. Brussels were not introduced into the UK until the 19th century.
2. Brussels sprouts are reputed to improve the eyesight and protect against colon cancer which is a good reason for their inclusion on the green vegetables list.
3. Again cooking is important. Over cooking releases the pungent smell that is so disliked. Generally 6 – 7 minutes is ample. Some people like to make a small X in the base of the sprout to ensure thorough cooking of the whole. To overcome the sometimes strong taste of the sprout, try sprinkling a small amount of vinegar over the sprouts just before they are eaten. Some people now automatically put vinegar on the table when they are serving this most dreaded on the green vegetable list - the poor old Brussels sprout.
4. To add to the troubles of Brussels sprouts, the latest food 'scare' is that eating too many sprouts may cause blood clotting due to the amount of vitamin K they contain. However, any sensible diner is unlikely to gorge on sprouts.
5. Sprouts can now be bought on the stalk. To keep these fresh, cut about 1/2" off the end of the stalk, place in a cup or jug of cold water and store in a cool place.
Not just 'peas' - Garden peas in particular, although most ‘garden’ peas are grown in large fields. When the peas are ready for picking this is like an enormous, well planned military operation. The pea-picking machines descend on the fields, working via headlights throughout the night. The aim is to pick the peas, get them back to the processing plant where they are shelled, washed, graded, packed and frozen within a space of two hours.
Preparation for this process starts in the months ahead of harvesting the peas. All the machinery is overhauled to keep them in top operating condition because, with the tight picking schedule, break-downs would be a catastrophe leading to tons of peas missing their 'slot' of two hours.
As soon as vegetables are picked they start to lose vitamin C and vital nutrients. Garden peas lose 60% of their sweetness in the first 24 hours. Other vegetables can lose up to half their vitamins within seven days of being harvested. Therefore the obvious advantage of using frozen peas over peas still in the pod, is that at least their freshness is more or less guaranteed.
Strangely, this is one of green vegetable list that is now one of the most popular of all vegetables. The late Marilyn Monroe used to serve them with carrots - she was right when she said the colour combination looked great.
Are picked and frozen in the same way as frozen peas above. If you are fortunate in growing broad beans then there is nothing sweeter than young broad beans picked, podded, cooked and served straight away with butter on the top. Broad beans deserve their space on the green vegetables list.
Savoy cabbage is surely the queen of cabbages? Unfortunately cabbage has a dreadful reputation because of school dinners and poor cooking in various retail establishments. Having seen a two foot high hopper of cabbage being cooked at 10.30 in the morning in readiness for the lunch time menu in a small café unfortunately endorses this reputation.
Cabbage needs to be washed, shredded and cooked in slightly salted water for a minimum amount of time.
The other varieties of cabbage are available. White cabbage – can be used in coleslaw and red cabbage – can be pickled, and also used in Borscht.
With all these varieties of cabbage it well deserves including in the green vegetables list.
A piece of useless information – World Cabbage Day is 17th February every year.
For more interesting information go to our page Fast Healthy Food and take a look at tips 8, 9 and 10 for quick and easy ways of cooking other vegetables.
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