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Volume 9 Issue 2
July/Aug 2003

Drum-Drum! Drum-Drum!

Broccoli! Bursting With Nutrition!

Intestinal Cleansing
Grass Roots to the Healing Process

Gain Clarity — Improve Healing

Becoming the Creator of Your Life!


Broccoli! Bursting With Nutrition!
by Paulette Mills

The name "broccoli" comes from the Italian, "brocco," meaning arm or branch. The cluster of green flowerbuds branches from a thick green stem, with additional small clusters sprouting from the stem at the attachment of the leaves. Broccoli is a close relative to cauliflower and somewhat related to cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Broccoli originated in the Mediterranean and history has it that the Romans ate it in the first century after Christ. It remains popular in Italy, where many varieties, including purple colours, are grown. Broccoli was introduced to England early in the 18th century and called "Italian asparagus!" The English and French remain cool to broccoli to this day, although it has become very popular as an American vegetable since the 1920s. The D'Arrigo Brothers, Italian vegetable growers in California, shipped a few crates of broccoli to Boston, at the same time as they supported a radio program with ads for broccoli, and the industry took off with a bang.

We, in Canada, tend to prefer the large-headed varieties whereas sprouting varieties are preferred in Mediterranean countries. Sprouting broccoli is very leafy and tender with small buds and is cooked like other greens.

Broccoli is very easy to grow. I usually start with transplants and set them out after danger of frost is past. They are usually a later-maturing vegetable but continue to produce side shoots long after other garden veggies have gone the way of compost. I like to keep the broccoli patch watered late into fall and have had years when I have picked broccoli into October, as the mature plant is very hardy. If you don't have a garden why not try a couple of container broccoli plants? Please use natural repellants, the best being garden grade diatomaceous earth (found in good garden shops) to control those butterflies.

Broccoli is loaded with chlorophyll and the more green that is left in the broccoli the more chlorophyll. Therefore broccoli is best under-cooked as this chlorophyll counteracts the sulfur compounds that form gas.

Broccoli is high in vitamins A, C, and niacin, iron, and calcium, low in calories (about 28 calories per 3-1/2 ounce serving), and is good for the elimination system as it is a great source of fibre. Broccoli also contains some chromium and selenium and research shows that organically grown produce contains significantly higher levels of minerals.

Nutrients per pound:
calories 103
  iron 5.6 mg  
  protein 9.1 g  
  vitamin A 9,700 i.u.  
  fat 0.6 g  
  thiamine 0.26 mg  
  carbohydrates 15.2 g  
  riboflavin 0.59 mg  
  calcium 360 mg  
  niacin 2.5 mg  
  phosphorus 211 mg  
  ascorbic acid (Vit. C) 327 mg  
  Chart taken from Foods that Heal by Dr. Bernard Jensen:  

Broccoli contains phytochemicals: isothiocyanates such as sulphorophane, indoles, and carotenoids. These neutralize free radicals (causes of aging), block cancer causing substances before they can damage cells, stimulate anticancer enzymes, suppress tumour growth, are useful for asthma due to the high level of quercitin, a bioflavonoid which prevents the release of histamine, thus inhibiting the allergin response, and knock harmful hormones off track — e.g. deactivate estrogen, a hormone linked to breast cancer.

Dr. Earl Mindell recommends two cups of cruciferous vegetables daily to supply the sulphorophane necessary to stimulate the phase II enzymes to protect against cancer. The fibre also acts as anti-cancer for the colon.

Wow! After even this brief summary of broccoli's benefits I hope you will all add broccoli to your daily fare. Check out the recipes below!

To buy broccoli, look for tenderness in the stalk, especially the upper portion. If the lower stalk is tough and woody, and if the flower clusters are open and have a yellow tinge, the broccoli is overmature. Buy heads that are tightly closed with compact bud clusters and tender stalks with fresh leaves. Do not buy wilted or flabby broccoli. Broccoli is available year round. It does not keep very long in the fridge so buy smaller amounts often.

Keep unwashed broccoli in a plastic bag in the fridge. Uncooked, it will keep about 3 days, and 1-3 days cooked.

Wash just before using. Trim off the toughest part of the stalk and peel the remainder if it is more than 1" in diameter.

When washing home grown broccoli, vigorously swish small pieces in cold water as often as necessary to remove any pesky worms, usually 1-3 fresh waters. Steaming or blanching for freezing usually removes any you've missed! Steam briefly (about 5 minutes) until just tender but still crisp. Do not overcook! Remove lid several times to allow steam to escape as this keeps the broccoli green. Stems may be cut into thin diagonal slices or julienned and used in salads — e.g. coleslaw, or briefly sauteed.

Leftover cooked broccoli is also an excellent addition to salads.

To freeze a bumper crop, pick fresh, wash well, peel and slice stalks, and cut florets to one and one half inch sizes. Steam blanch about 5 minutes. Immerse in ice water immediately after removing from kettle, drain, and freeze on cookie sheets, then place in zip lock bags. Fast freezing is the best way to preserve nutrients!

Seasonings that go well with broccoli are onions, garlic, vinegars, olive oil, and bacon bits. Soy bacon bits are available for those who do not wish to eat pork or nitrates.

We use pieces of raw broccoli in salads regularly and I love the stems julienned and used as a coleslaw. My favourite ways to cook broccoli are: the recipe below from Spontaneous Healing, and the recipe for Ed's Broccoli Salad. Broccoli is great in soups, purees, dips, salads, oven baked with other veggies, casseroles, stir fries, and marinated veggies.


Yummy, easy and full of sulphorophane

Peel stems and chop the stem and florets into small pieces. Wash. Place in a pot with 1/4 cup cold water, 1 tbsp olive oil and several cloves of mashed garlic. Steam until bright and crunchy (5 minutes max). Remove lid and boil off water. Serve as is, or with parmesan cheese (soy, rice, or dairy) and red pepper flakes, or mix with cooked pasta.

— from Spontaneous Healing

Pureed Broccoli**
2 bunches broccoli, washed and ready for cooking
4 tbsp butter, cut in pieces
sea salt
freshly ground pepper (optional)
2 - 4 tbsp heavy cream (try substituting yogurt)
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Cook the broccoli until tender, drain and reserve liquid. Puree in a blender, adding a little of the cooking liquid for easier blending. Return broccoli to saucepan and stir in butter, salt and pepper if using. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the puree is on the dry side. Stir in 2 tbsp of the cream. The puree should be creamy but not soupy. Add more cream if necessary. Stir in the nutmeg and serve hot.

Pasta Primavera***

Keeps well for two days. Reheat leftovers in a steamer or double boiler.

Serves 6
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups sliced zucchini
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup asparagus pieces, 1/2 inch long
2-1/4 cups chopped yellow squash
1 cup fresh or frozen small peas
8 ounces whole grain linguini or spaghetti
3 cups chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, or 1 tbsp dried

Optional garnishes:
olive oil
feta cheese
grated parmesan (soy or rice, fine)
tomato sauce
oil and vinegar
minced garlic

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large fry pan or pot. Saute garlic, and then add zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, squash, and peas and saute until they are slightly soft but still crunchy, about 10 minutes.

Break the pasta into thirds and add to boiling water along with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook until al dente. Drain and add to the vegetables. Mix in the tomatoes and basil and any garnishes you wish. Stir until everything is well blended and serve hot.

Ed's Broccoli Salad

2 heads broccoli, chopped fine
3 chopped green onions
1 cup sliced water chestnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup diced celery
1/2 pound firm tofu, cut in small cubes
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 cup mayonnaise (homemade with natural ingredients or a good quality from the health food store)
2/3 cup parmesan (may use rice or soy parmesan)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp liquid honey

Marinate tofu pieces in tamari and sesame oil; saute until browned and set aside to cool while preparing veggies. Place all ingredients together in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight.

— a friend, Ed, brought this delicious salad to a nutrition workshop. He okayed the healthy changes I made!

Broccoli Pesto Sauce*
Very yummy and versatile!

3 cups cut up broccoli florets and stems
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts
1 tbsp dried basil or one quarter cup fresh
2/3 cup grated parmesan (soy is great)

Cook broccoli in boiling water four to five minutes until crispy tender; drain and cool. In a blender or food processor, combine broccoli, garlic, oil, almonds, and basil. Blend until coarsely chopped. Add cheese; process until well mixed. May add a bit of water to get a thinner consistency if desired.

Ways to use Broccoli Pesto:

  • spread on heavy bread, add diced tomatoes and broil 2-3 minutes.
  • use on baked potatoes.
  • stuff celery.
  • salad dressing: one third cup olive oil, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, 1 tbsp broccoli pesto.
  • dip: stir pesto into sour cream or plain yogurt. Serve with veggies.
  • pasta: toss broccoli pesto with hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • freeze for later use by adding a touch of olive oil to the top of the container before freezing.

Spicy, creamy, and pretty!

1 tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (use more for a hotter version)
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions hot sauce to taste
2 tbsp lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup light ricotta cheese
1 cup cooked broccoli, coarsely pureed in a blender

Combine tomato, garlic, green onions, hot sauce, lime juice, coriander and salt. Add ricotta and mix well to combine all ingredients into a paste. Add broccoli and stir to combine. Serve as a dip, sandwich spread or on fajitas.

— this yummy spread was brought to a class pot luck. Thanks Carla!

*Nutrition, Cooking and Healing by Paulette Millis, R.N.C.
**The Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook by Nika Hazelton
***Superimmunity by Leo Galland, M.D.

References: Foods That Heal, Bernard Jensen, MD; The Kitchen Gardener's Companion, Pat Katz; The Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook, Nika Hazelton; Anti-Aging Bible, Earl Mindell, PhD; Powerfoods, Stephanie Beling, MD.

The above information regarding nutritious food is not intended to replace any instruction from medical or health professionals.

Paulette Millis lives and works in Saskatoon as a nutritional consultant. Her cookbook, Nutrition, Cooking, and Healing, is available in health food stores or by calling (306) 244-8890.

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