Broccoli is a biennial, cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Other famous members of this family are cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The scientific name of Broccoli is Brassica oleracea var. italica, while the name broccoli, derives from the Italian “broccolo”. A decade ago, broccoli used to be a winter-only vegetable, but contemporary broccoli hybrids allow farmers to seed nearly all year round in some areas.
The plant consists of a thick stem surrounded by leaves on top of which the green flowery heads grow. A flower head consists of a mass of smaller flower heads that develop small flowers with four petals. Broccoli is similar to cauliflower; however, they differ in many important details. Cauliflower produces just one large head. Broccoli produces central head and side shoots. Thus, broccoli allows for multiple harvesting sessions per each plant and constant supply.
Broccoli has a green or purple flower-head. Broccoli weight can range from 0,350 kg (0,77 pounds) to over 0,5 kg (1.1 pounds). The market always determines the desired weight of the broccoli heads. The average large broccoli head weighs 0,5 kg, and the small head normally weighs about 0,35 kg.
Broccoli is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region; Greeks and Romans used to consume Broccoli regularly. Italians introduced Broccoli to the rest of Europe during the 16th century. Nowadays, China is the largest broccoli producer worldwide. Broccoli is a very popular vegetable, mainly due to its high nutritious value. It can be consumed raw in salads or boiled as part of soups. Baked Broccoli is also a choice, as it has a great taste. Nowadays, hundreds of recipes include Broccoli.