The familiar broccoli is actually the edible flower buds and stem of the broccoli plant, another member of the Brassicaceae family. Each large plant produces only one full head of broccoli. These plants love cool weather and will appear in shares in the spring and fall.

Store your broccoli unwashed in a loose plastic bag in the fridge, where it can last for a week. For longer term storage, blanch florets, pat dry and freeze in a freezer bag for up to a year.

Broccoli is very high in vitamins C, K, A, folate, and fiber. Eat it raw or cook broccoli lightly (steam, saute, stir fry, etc) to retain the maximum nutritients available. Don't just use the florets - the stem is edible, crunchy and yummy too! A few quick serving ideas include: lightly steaming broccoli with lemon juice and sesame seeds, adding it to mac n' cheese or other pasta dishes, including it in egg dishes such as quiche or omelets, chopping it raw into salads, using it with dips, stir frying it with tofu or meat, or pureeing it into cream of broccoli soup. Share your favorite broccoli recipes by clicking on the "comment" link below.

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