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Broccoli

Broccoli is sometimes held up as the ultimate example of a veg kids hate. But broccoli is actually a very popular veg in the UK, and can be a cheap and delicious one for children! The key with broccoli is often finding the right way to prep it – if your kids turn their nose up at boiled broccoli, why not try replacing cauliflower in a cauliflower cheese with it, or keeping it even simpler and tossing the florets with oil and salt and just roasting to bring out sweetness and caramelisation? And don’t throw the stalks away – those are the sweetest bits! Slice, cook and add to pasta dishes or grate raw stalks with grated apple, mayonnaise and lemon juice for a broccoli slaw!
Veg-Names-English-Broccoli

Do you know which vegetable was voted the most loved vegetable in the UK last year? You’re thinking peas, or maybe carrots – everyone loves carrots. The answer, of course, is broccoli. Us Brits love these little miniature trees.

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Nutrition

Broccoli is a great source of a range of micronutrients including vitamins A, C, E and K, some of the B vitamins such as folic acid and minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals are brilliant for supporting our immune system and bone health. Studies have linked the consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli to heart health and due to its vitamin K and fibre content. 

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Shopping Guide

When shopping for broccoli look out for dark green or slightly purple florets, these are richer in nutrients like vit C and beta carotene. If buying early season broccoli, make sure to use it up quickly as it doesn’t last as long!

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Storage

Broccoli keeps fresher for longer when stored in the fridge and loves water. Storing your broccoli stems in a jar of water and covering the tops with a plastic bag will help your veg to stay fresh and crunchy. You could try spraying your florets with water and wrapping them in a damp cloth or tea towel, this will help them stay fresh for up to a week. If it’s there beyond that, turn it into soup by boiling in stock and a dry herb of choice, perhaps even with some creamy Stilton stirred through. You can freeze broccoli by blanching in boiling water for just 2-3 mins, letting it cool and then freezing laid out on a tray in the freezer for a couple of hours before storing in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 6 months.

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Preparation

Simply cut or tear the florets from the trunk and then steam or boil them until soft, but not soggy. If you really want to rock the broc – steam or boil for only 3 mins then toss the florets into a frying pan on a medium heat with chopped garlic and olive oil, sauté for 3-5 mins then sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and devour them. The stem of broccoli is rich in the good stuff like vitamin C. Rather than throwing it away try grating it into soups, stews or coleslaw. 

Tom Hunt’s guide to preparing broccoli.

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Kids in the Kitchen

For a younger child, why not get them breaking apart the broccoli florets with their hands and washing them for you?

For an older child, maybe they could grate the broccoli stalks (and/or florets) with a little help and mix with some yogurt or mayonnaise and lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a simple broccoli slaw as a side to dinner.

Find more ideas for involving kids in the kitchen here.

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Sensory

Why not explore what broccoli feels and looks like when prepared in different ways? Get a few florets prepared in different ways for them – raw, frozen, boiled or steamed, roasted… Ask your child what they remind them of in different forms, and encourage them to touch and smell them to see if they feel and smell different to each other, too. If they feel up to it, they could even try a little nibble or lick of the different ones to explore the varied tastes and textures, and see which one is their favourite!

Watch our video from Ruth Platt for a visual guide to exploring broccoli with your senses here. Find more sensory ideas, tips and videos here. If you get stuck and need a little help with describing words, we have a selection for you here, too!

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Serving

Next time you make a meal with broccoli, try to get your kids involved in small ways wherever you can – when serving it up, why not let your child help you plate it and see if they can come up with a funny name for the dish.

Find the best ways of involving your own child and their skills and interests on our Roles for Kids page.

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Activities

Why not try making a broccoli face mask a cut-out and colour broccoli, or veg crown?

Or grab some of our free games & puzzles with broccoli like our Broccoli Veg Surveillance game?

Kids more interested in science? Try Stefan Gates’ videos, including how to explore colour, patterns and shape using broccoli here.

Find loads more free broccoli-themed crafts here and games here.

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Seasonality

Buying veg in season is not only great for the planet, it can be good for your wallet, too! Buying broccoli over the summer will get you the best flavour and price, so keep an eye out from July.

Coming In:

June

At Its Best:

July - November

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Your Food

Broccoli is often boiled, but to retain more flavour and texture, maybe your kids would prefer it steamed and served with butter, roasted, or even sliced thinly and stir-fried! If you want to bring more broccoli into your meals and sides rotations, why not try some of our favourites…

Family Favourites

Pasta Bake

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Roast

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Stir Fry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Soups

Simple Broccoli Soup | Veg Power

Simple Broccoli Soup

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Mimi’s All Green Soup

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Mimi Spencer

Elaine’s Mean Green Souper Machine

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Elaine Mason

Stir Fries

Charlotte’s Tofu Stir-Fry

Effort: 3
Complexity: 3
Cost: 3

Charlotte Radcliffe RNutr

Emily’s Chicken & Veg Black Noodle Stir-Fry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 2

Emily Leary

Easy Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 2

Claire Wright

More Recipes

Scruffy Veg Lasagne

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Jamie's £1 Wonders

Broccoli Grilled Cheese | Veg Power

Roasted Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes | Veg Power

Broccoli-Cheese Stuffed “Baked” Potatoes

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Charlotte’s Tofu Stir-Fry

Effort: 3
Complexity: 3
Cost: 3

Charlotte Radcliffe RNutr

Emily’s Chicken & Veg Black Noodle Stir-Fry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 2

Emily Leary

Mean ‘n’ Green Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Andrew Walker

Jamie’s Greens Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Effort: 3
Complexity: 3
Cost: 2

Jamie Oliver

Mel’s Broccoli and Basil Pea Pasta Sauce

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Melissa Hemsley

brocolli

If You Like Broccoli…Try

Does your child enjoy peppers? That’s great! Peppers are usually crunchy and fairly sweet, so why not try a similar texture and/or taste…

The Wonderful World of Veg

Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

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