Brassica oleracea Italica
May - October
Broccoli is a needy vegetable, especially in Wisconsin. It needs plenty of water; it needs cool weather or else it’ll bolt and turn woody; and it needs extremely good soil, preferring a lot of nitrogen as well as other many other minerals. The result of all this pampering is a nutritional powerhouse of a veggie.
Green is most common, but there are purple varieties that turn green when cooked. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and kale. The florets that broccoli is known for are actually flower buds. Do not buy broccoli that has any open yellow flowers; even one flower indicates that the broccoli is over the hill.
Nutrition: Broccoli is a freak of nature when it comes to nutrition: more vitamin C in ½ cup than a glass of orange juice, 30 different cancer fighting agents, plus calcium, potassium, chromium (protects against diabetes), folic acid, vitamin B6, iron, fiber, antioxidants, and more.