Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenck (Brassicaceae)
Broccoli is one of the most important sources of sulphur-containing compounds - glucosinolates with many health-promoting properties (e. g. antioxidant etc.). Glucosinolates are also responsible for typical taste and aroma of particular species from Brassicaceae family. From aspect of vitamin C content, broccoli belongs to the richest vegetable sources of this vitamin necessary for many functions in human body. Broccoli is also interesting because of polyphenol, chlorophyll or carotenoid content.
Botanical description and occurrence:
Broccoli is annual crop. Its edible part is floret with stump (approximately up to 15 cm under floret). In Slovakia, broccoli is grown on small area and its biggest producer in Europe is Italy. It requires a middle-heavy soil and sufficient supply of nutrients (N, S, P, K) for growing. Within soil preparation, stable manure or alternative organic manure should be applied and ploughed into the soil. Within vegetation period, it is needed to irrigate broccoli plants regularly - optimally 2-4 times per week (according to the weather). Cultivars verified in conditions of southern Slovakia, providing a good yield of florets, are Covina F1, Limba, Tiburon F1, Matsuri F1, Lucky F1, Batavia F1 etc.
Spacing suitable for growing of later broccoli is 0.5x0.5 m. It is necessary to harvest broccoli in optimal date. In case of delayed harvest date, broccoli is opening and forming floral stem. It is optimal to process broccoli florets directly after harvest or store in the fridge.
Why to have the plant in your garden:
Broccoli can be prepared by many ways. It is possible to prepare a very good creamy soup or it is possible to use broccoli for baking or as healthy side dish to main meal. From aspect of preservation of health promoting substances (glucosinolates, vitamin C, chlorophylls etc.), it is preferred to prepare broccoli in steam compared to the long-term boiling.
Dr. Miroslav Šlosár, SUA, Nitra, Slovak Republic
Dr. Ivana Mezeyová, Dr. Ján Mezey, SUA, Nitra, Slovak Republic
Links to scientific articles (if it is possible):
Koh, E. - Wimalasin, K. M. S. - Chassy, A. W. - Mitchell, A. E. 2009. Content of ascorbic acid, quercetin, kaempferol and total phenolics in commercial broccoli. In Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, vol. 22, pp. 637-643.