Broccoli

This stately ambassador to healthy eating was prized by the Romans for its ability to green soups and stews.

Stellar in soups, under cheese sauce or raw in salads, broccoli shuns glitz and glamour in the face of consistent, tender buds and stems. Developed in the Mediterranean and prized for its springy, floral flavor, this toothsome member of the brassica family is more of a mealtime cast member than a seasonal extra. Unlike today’s most common varieties, crowned with tight greenish blue buds, ancient broccoli breeders prized specimens with royal purple flowers. Any way you slice it, broccoli is also a poster child for healthy eating – charged with as much calcium as a cup of milk and bursting with all kinds of vitamins and nutrients.

Certified organic Red Tomato broccoli may be available at your local retailer.

Storage

Look for broccoli heads with tight, dense buds and heavy stalks. Avoid any that trend yellow or show signs of flowering. Store broccoli in the refrigerator in a perforated or open plastic bag for three to four days. Wash right before using, as clinging water and moisture can make this sturdy veggie loose its staying power.