What do you know about broccoli? This vegetable is the focus of our “What’s in Season?” blog this month!
What sets broccoli apart?
Apples, kale, sweet potatoes, and broccoli are examples of fall produce that can be found locally in Georgia during the cooler months. Like all fruits and vegetables, broccoli has a variety of health benefits to offer. Check out the following list for reasons why you should include broccoli in your meals this month.
- Broccoli belongs to a vegetable subgroup called dark green vegetables. These vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals.  Other dark green vegetables include spinach, kale, and collard greens.
- Broccoli is also a type of cruciferous vegetable like cabbage and brussels sprouts. Research suggests that these vegetables can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. 
- Vitamin K and C are both found in broccoli.  Vitamin K is important for bone and heart health, while Vitamin C keeps our immune system strong.
- There are so many ways to enjoy broccoli. Steamed, sauteed, or roasted broccoli can be served as a side dish, or broccoli florets can be added to soups and casseroles to increase overall vegetable intake.
Harvested in Georgia
Broccoli grows in both the fall and spring in Georgia. This means that it is known as a “cool season crop,” and it will not grow well in the heat of the summer.  Broccoli that is grown in season will be available during the months of May through June and October through December.
If you like to shop at the farmer’s market, try clicking on this link to find local Georgia growers to buy broccoli from. And check out our What’s in Season chart to keep track of when you can expect other local produce to be available!
Interested in growing your own broccoli at home? For a spring crop, it is best to plant your seeds in February. If you have a fall garden, begin planting in July. Broccoli seeds should be planted indoors and moved to an outdoor garden when they are a few months old.  A “head” of broccoli (as seen below) is ready to be picked when the outer florets begin to loosen. After the first head is harvested, broccoli plants will continue to produce smaller heads throughout the growing season. 
With so many ways to enjoy broccoli, it is easy to find a recipe that you love. Here are some of our favorites:
- Fall is the perfect season for comfort food like pasta. Our recipes for Skillet Mac and Cheese and Italian Broccoli Noodles will warm you from the inside out and give you an extra daily serving of veggies!
- Bright colors are a great way to get kids interested in eating more vegetables. Try this Rainbow Pizza recipe for your next family pizza night.
- Looking for a quick lunch recipe that is full of flavor and nutrients? Our Easy Ramen Stir Fry takes the guesswork out of your next lunchtime meal prep.
- Our recipe for Southern Broccoli Salad is a healthier twist on a classic. With less overall fat and more protein, it will make a great side dish to bring to the next potluck or tailgate.
We are nearing the finish line! Check back next month to read the final blog in our “What’s in Season?” series.
Written by Darci Bell, RDN, LD | Edited by Leslie Davis, RDN, LD, CDCES, and the Nutrition Team
Posted: November 7, 2022
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