Closely related to cauliflower broccoli has been dubbed ‘the crown jewel of nutrition’ because of its potent combination of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural ‘broccolo’ meaning ‘the flowering crest of cabbage’, they have dark green flowing tops and thick, light green stems.
They were first introduced in the US in the 1700s where Thomas Jefferson experimented cultivating them. Although it wasn’t until the 1920s that commercial cultivation began in the US. Furthermore, it wasn’t until after world war II that it became a significant commercial crop.
- Broccoli has been considered a very valuable food by the Italians since the Roman Empire, but when first introduced in England in the mid-18th century, broccoli was referred to as “Italian asparagus.”
- It was first introduced to the United States by Southern Italian immigrants but did not become widely popular until the 1920s
- There are records of Thomas Jefferson, who was an avid gardener, experimenting with broccoli seeds brought over from Italy in the late 1700s.
- Broccoli resulted from breeding cultivated Brassica crops in the north Mediterranean in around the 6th century BC