6 Amazing Broccoli Facts You Should Know

6 Amazing Broccoli Facts You Should Know

With fresh broccoli from Gaytan Family Farm going into our farm boxes this week, we thought it was a good time to share some amazing broccoli facts! This is one neat, healthy plant with a rich history.

Once you know these six broccoli facts, you’ll never look at a head of broccoli the same way again! (You can also use these facts to impress your friends and family at the dinner table.)

6 Amazing Broccoli Facts

Broccoli Fact #1: Broccoli sprouts are so full of potent anti-cancer compounds that Johns Hopkins University tried to patent them.

600+ studies have shown that the phytochemical “sulforaphane” found in broccoli and other related plants, may be the most potent anti-cancer compound on earth. Sulforaphane can’t be stabilized and turned into a pill, it can only come from eating the plants (chewing starts a chemical reaction that unleashes the magic).

Interestingly, sulforaphane levels are much higher in broccoli sprouts than in the mature plant. Johns Hopkins University tried to patent the compound, but was ultimately unsuccessful in its lawsuits against commercial broccoli sprout growers, thus legally negating its ownership claims of a naturally-occurring compound that was already in existence.

There is still lots of sulforaphane in mature broccoli florets, leaves, and stems, so eat up!

Broccoli Fact #2: Broccoli is a giant bundle of unopened flowers.

Have you ever looked at a head of broccoli and wondered what the heck it is, botanically speaking? A miniature tree? Nope.

Its name, “broccoli,” gives away the answer. In Italian, “broccoli” means “the flowering crest of a cabbage.” Yes, broccoli is a giant floret composed of countless little flowers. If the plant was left in the ground, the floret would continue maturing and explode into a beautiful abundance of yellow flowers before developing into seeds. (Broccoli flowers are quite tasty too!)

Broccoli Fact #3: Genetically speaking, broccoli is the same plant as kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and other Brassicas.

Speaking of broccoli seeds, broccoli is classified as Brassica oleracea. So are lots of other veggies that you’re probably familiar with, such as collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, and cauliflower.

In fact, these plants are so closely related that they can naturally cross with each other if pollinating insects swap their pollen. When this happens, we sometimes end up with fun new varieties like broccolini.

All of today’s cruciferous veggies—from broccoli to kale to cabbage—came from a single common ancestor that grew wild along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea about 2,000 years ago. The Romans got the ball rolling on breeding the original ancestor into some of the varieties we enjoy today!

Broccoli Fact #4: It’s downright patriotic to eat broccoli.

America started off as an agrarian society and all the founding fathers were pretty hardcore gardeners and/or farmers.

In 1776, a gardener and scholar named Thomas Jefferson penned The Declaration of Independence (you may have heard of him and his work). Jefferson’s Monticello estate was a giant plantation garden where he grew and experimented with countless rare and unusual plants. Hearing about a strange Italian veggie called “broccoli,” he had seeds imported from Italy so he could grow them.

Jefferson wrote about growing broccoli and its close relative, cauliflower, on May 27, 1767, which might well make him the first American to have ever grown broccoli on American soil. Understandably, he’s better known for his other works than for growing broccoli.

Broccoli Fact #5: A cup of broccoli has more Vitamin C than an orange.

A single orange has about 51 mg of Vitamin C. A cup of chopped broccoli has about 81 mg of Vitamin C. Yep, broccoli has more Vitamin C than an orange!

Broccoli Fact #6: California is the broccoli capital of the United States.

Ever wonder where the broccoli you eat comes from? If you’re getting fruits & veggies from Daily Harvest Express, you know the answer to that question: as close as possible to home – Gaytan Family Farm is located in Riverside County.

However, what you might not know is that California is the broccoli producing capital of the US, accounting for about 90% of national production. That’s a lot of broccoli. In fact, it’s almost 2 BILLION pounds worth of broccoli!

We hope you found these broccoli facts interesting and enjoy the broccoli heading your way from Gaytan Family Farm this week!

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