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Diane Miller

All that broccoli adds

    Bright green stalks of broccoli add color, flavor and nutritive value to meals. Broccoli is a versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw or cooked, served as an appetizer, side dish or added to a main dish. Fresh broccoli is available year round, with the greatest supplies available in December, January and March.
    Broccoli is rich in vitamins, yet low in calories. A one-half cup serving of cooked broccoli contains only 20 calories and has more than the U.S. RDA for vitamin C. Broccoli is an excellent source of riboflavin, a fair source of vitamin A and contains small amounts of thiamin, iron and calcium. It is also a good source of fiber.
    When selecting fresh broccoli, remember to choose stalks that are in good condition. They should have tightly closed flower buds that are a rich deep green or green with a purplish cast. A firm, compact cluster of smaller flower buds is a sign of quality. The buds turn light green or yellow when they are in the process of blooming, which indicates over–maturity.
    Avoid purchasing broccoli with water soaked buds or soft spots. These are signs of decay. It’s also best to avoid wilted, flabby or noticeably bruised broccoli stalks.
    Broccoli is usually sold in neatly trimmed and tied bunches. Broccoli may be priced by the bunch or it may be sold by the pound. Allow about 1 1/2 pound of fresh broccoli for four servings.
    Fresh broccoli should be stored at home in a tightly covered container or moisture-vaporproof bag in the refrigerator. It is best when used as soon as possible, but should stay fresh for several days.
    To help maintain the bright green color, keep the broccoli uncovered during the first few minutes of cooking time. Also, just cook until tender. Long cooking times destroy the color.
    For more information on food preparation, contact Diane at (912) 871-0504, dianem@uga.edu or www.ugaextension.com/bulloch/fcs.

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