It’s the time of year when cool-weather vegetables are growing strong. One veggie in particular that is hardy and approved by children is broccoli. Some kids think broccoli, a member of the cabbage family, looks like a tree, which can be a fun connection to make with children. Broccoli comes in several varieties. One in particular that is especially interesting to look at is the Romanesco broccoli because of its geometric shape.
We have found introducing children to broccoli, or any vegetable for that matter, to be successful when you make the experience a sensory one. Introduce the plant and talk about its edible parts. Plant parts include leaves, flowers, stems, seeds, and roots. Some examples of vegetables are lettuce (leaves), carrots (roots) and celery (stems/stocks). With broccoli you are eating the flower buds! Harvesting the broccoli head (flower buds) should be done before the flowers open. Once the flowers start to open, (photo right) the flavor becomes bitter. Eating broccoli may help to reduce blood pressure. Broccoli is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid. It is also a wonderful source of iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin E. Because broccoli is full of fiber, it aids in digestion.
One head of broccoli, cut into florets
¼ cup of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
¼ cup of slivered almonds
Steam or boil broccoli until tender, approximately 4 to 8 minutes. Drain.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and almonds. Pour over hot broccoli and serve.