Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

A Scientist's Quest For Perfect Broccoli

timothy posted about a year ago | from the how-about-sweeter-kale dept.

Biotech 118

HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes "For all the wonders of fresh broccoli, in most parts of the country it is only available from local growers during the cooler weeks at either end of the growing season, nowhere near long enough to become a fixture in grocery stores or kitchens. But now Michael Moss writes in the NY Times that Thomas Bjorkman is out to change all that by creating a new version of the plant that can thrive in hot, steamy summers like those in New York, South Carolina or Iowa and is easy and inexpensive enough to grow in large volumes. And Bjorkman's quest doesn't stop there: His crucifer is also crisp, subtly sweet and utterly tender when eaten fresh-picked and aims to maximize the concentration of glucoraphanin, a mildly toxic compound used by plants to fight insects that in humans may stimulate our bodies' natural chemical defenses to aid in preventing cancer and warding off heart disease. The Eastern Broccoli Project's goal is to create a regional food network for an increasingly important and nutritious vegetable that may serve as a model network for other specialty crops to help shift American attitudes toward fruits and vegetables by increasing their allure and usefulness in cooking, while increasing their nutritional loads. 'If you've had really fresh broccoli, you know it's an entirely different thing,' says Bjorkman, a plant scientist at Cornell University. 'And if the health-policy goal is to vastly increase the consumption of broccoli, then we need a ready supply, at an attractive price.'"

cancel ×

118 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The President should be pleased (4, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44271977)

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite food [reuters.com]

Quite a contrast to President George HW Bush: 'I'm President,' So No More Broccoli! [nytimes.com]

It was a proclamation that every child, and many adults, have dreamed of making.

President Bush declared today that he never, ever, wants to see another sprig of broccoli on his plate, whether he is on Air Force One or at the White House or anywhere else in the land.

''I do not like broccoli,'' the President said, responding to queries about a broccoli ban he has imposed aboard Air Force One, first reported this week in U.S. News and World Report. ''And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!''

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272053)

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite food

Then we can be sure of one thing - he doesn't like broccoli and probably hates it.

Maybe he owes a favor to some agribusiness corporation.

Re:The President should be pleased (0)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#44272557)

For all the wonders of fresh broccoli, in most parts of the country it is only available from local growers during the cooler weeks at either end of the growing season, nowhere near long enough to become a fixture in grocery stores or kitchens

hun? This is bizarre to me as a Canadian it is a fixture in grocery stores. I can't remember the last one I saw without it.

Spinach - that's a problem. Even though they all stock it, it's frequently sold out. Baby spinach is abundant but not the dark leaf.

Re:The President should be pleased (2)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44272719)

Fresh broccoli, as it's written in the article, refers to harvested the same day. That's not what you're getting in most stores. You can disagree that it tastes any different (I'd think you're a fool if you did, but that's just my two cents), but I think the claim as stated stands true.

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#44274091)

ahh - never paid enough attention to when stuff was picked - to me that's just too elitist. If it's edible, free of crap that will likely kill me in the long run, and reasonably priced that's all I care about. Hydroponic strawberries would be the exception to that statement... they're technically edible but strawberries should be red/soft/sweet inside, not white/hard/watery.

Re:The President should be pleased (2)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44276005)

All quite reasonable criteria, I'd say.

Honestly I never really paid all that much attention either, until two years ago when I spent a summer in California living with a roommate who worked at the Embarcadero farmer's market [ferrybuild...tplace.com] (the most elitist [yelp.com] of the farmer's markets!) and would regularly bring home just the absolute tastiest stuff (he would trade with the other merchants). I'd almost (but I'd probably be exaggerating) describe it as finding that red, juicy strawberry feeling, but in a whole range of other foods. Since then, I've decided that good food definitely makes my list of priorities to spend a little extra dough on.

Anyway, I guess we can reasonably conclude: I'm an elitist, and you're a fool :-)

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44276319)

Embarcadero farmer's market

What, so the Borland development tools brought another company down to its knees? Man, those compilers must be cursed or something.

Re:The President should be pleased (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272061)

There was a character on Star Trek: The Next Generation named Reginald Barclay, but his shipmates called him "broccoli" because he was a born loser. He was even more of a loser than Geordi La Forge, who muh-dikked a white woman on Risa after he drank too much malt liquor. Broccoli is a vegetable which produces really stinky farts. Maybe they should have called Geordi "broccoli" and Barclay "Brussels sprouts" or "cauliflower" because the latter two vegetables produces farts much stinkier than broccoli while human physiology is involved in their decomposition, and Barclay was more of a loser than Geordi.

Transfarter sequence: activate.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272087)

Possibly genetic. I hated broccoli as kid, but that was before I tasted fresh broccoli properly prepared. People who obsessively dislike broccoli, brussels sprout, etc, are either being childish (probably many), have psychological issues with food (picky eaters, which is actually a thing) or have peculiar receptors for the bitter compounds in the cabbage group of vegetables (23andMe.com can report some of these).

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#44272651)

Your senses (including taste and smell) decline as you age.

Re:The President should be pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272905)

Sure. But I started liking broccoli in my teens, after I moved away for college. I used to hate sushi and sashimi, but I made myself learn to like it. That was around 22, 23. I'm still working on Japanese flavors in general, though. I used to really dislike ginger, but I worked on it, and now I sometimes crave it. Still working on lemon grass, though. I'm 33 now, but I worked many of these things out years ago.

I can understand little children not liking certain foods, because they're hypersensitive. Every sensation and taste is new to them. But for young adults and adults, you can learn to like anything if you apply yourself, unless you have a psychological or biological impediment.

How do you make yourself like something? You take it in small quantities, in a variety of dishes, and learn to appreciate its qualities. Textures and "icky' stuff can be difficult, but you just have to get over your fears. I've eaten balut on multiple occasions (although I dislike liver in general, so the middle part of the chick isn't that great), dog meat stew, fish guts, turkey lungs... it's all mind over matter. Most aspects of taste are extremely subjective, which means with the right mindset you can change your preferences.

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44276049)

For some reason, olives gave me the hardest time with that goal (I love them now). I still can't get behind licorice (either the anise kind of the real licorice root kind), but I think I'm ok with that.

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

ballpoint (192660) | about a year ago | (#44273227)

It's not the bitter taste, it's the sulphurous, garbage dump like stink that some just don't seem to perceive.

The failure to detect the stink is probably a genetic defect promoted by Darwinian selection where a part of the population survived by not being overly critical about eating out of a dumpster.

That said, broccoli is the least offending of the cauliflower family in this regard. Brussels sprouts are worst.

Re:The President should be pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44274305)

If you can smell the sulfur, it's probably been overcooked, unless you're abnormally sensitive to it. I always cringe when I smell cabbage or brussels sprout cooking, because if I can smell it then they definitely overcooked it. It's takes practice to get it to the point where it doesn't smell on the plate, but if I can smell it from across the kitchen (or outside the hallway, or a different apartment, or across the street!) it's been ruined.

I've never perceived anything strong about broccoli before, though. Except for maybe broccoli rabe, and only in the Northeast. In New Haven, where they make the best pizza in the universe, you can often get pizza with broccoli rabe. Now, in California, where I was first introduced to it, I love broccoli rabe. It's bitter in the way that endives are bitter. But in Connecticut for some reason it tasted dramatically different on their pizza. I tried buying some from the grocery store and steaming it myself, with the same result. It's more pungent and incredibly more bitter. It's not outside my tolerance, but I could see how other people might not like it. If that's what regular broccoli tastes to some people, then I can kinda sympathize.

Can anyone explain why Connecticut broccoli rabe tasted so different? Was it a different cultivar? Was it simply less fresh, having been shipped from California?

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44276059)

Can anyone explain why Connecticut broccoli rabe tasted so different? Was it a different cultivar? Was it simply less fresh, having been shipped from California?

All those are reasonable guesses. Even if the same cultivar and local, though, the balance of sun / heat, especially near harvesting time, will really affect a plants taste. Here in the Northeast we get less year-round sun but more summer heat, making a lot of greens more bitter around mid-late summer.

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44274345)

I think you nailed it. It really does taste of decomposition. I love broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage but Brussels sprouts make me retch. It's like gnawing on dirty socks pulled off a corpse.
I disagree with you assesment of the evolutionary significance though. Those who are forced to make do with scraps need a keen sense to avoid bacterial infections by only eating the safe garbage.

Broccoli, Supertasters, PTC, and the TAS2R38 gene (4, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | about a year ago | (#44274353)

It's not the bitter taste, it's the sulphurous, garbage dump like stink that some just don't seem to perceive.

Supertasters [wikipedia.org] , approximately a quarter of the world's population, have the ability to taste PROP [wikipedia.org] and PTC [wikipedia.org] , finding them incredibly bitter while the rest of the population cannot taste them at all. (Supertasters have other differences from non-supertasters, too, including a larger number of fungiform papillae on the surface of the tongue.)

Plants of the Brassica [wikipedia.org] family, which includes broccoli (as well as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts) contain a compound similar to PTC. People who like broccoli are living in a genetic world supertasters can only dream of; even the smell of the Brassica family is immediately repulsive to supertasters. This is believed due to the genotypes they carry of the TAS2R38 gene [wikipedia.org] , which codes for a bitter taste receptor.

Frankly, I don't think Dr. Bjorkman's work will be done unless he gets the PTC-related compounds out of broccoli.

Re: Broccoli, Supertasters, PTC, and the TAS2R38 g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44274951)

You have that backwards. The majority of people can taste PTC. 23andMe says that I can, yet I love broccoli, etc. If there's a genetic component to disliking it, it has to be something else that distinguishes liners and dislikers.

Re:Broccoli, Supertasters, PTC, and the TAS2R38 ge (1)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | about a year ago | (#44275791)

Being able to taste bitterness is just the starting point, you can learn to like it. Few people really enjoy their first real beer (as in one with hop bitterness, not the faux lagers youngsters prefer) but quickly learn to like it. Same thing happens with vegetables, though obviously plenty of folk never gain mature tastes.

Personally I'm worried about this mention of 'sweet', does the world really need another dumbed down food with it's distinctive flavours stripped back to what lazy, immature tastes can cope with? That's how we got flavourless tomatoes, lettuce with no hint of bitterness or other actual flavour, apples that taste like water and sweet sprouts. I like my food pleasantly challenging, not turned into tasteless mush.

Re:The President should be pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44275185)

Yeah the stench of rot is why I too, hated things like broccoli, asparagus, and brussel sprouts as a kid. But everything I ate as a kid was overcooked.

I still can't stomach Brussel Sprouts by any recipe I've found, but asparagus pan fried in butter or deep fried in tempura batter or grilled is pretty awesome. Steamed Broccoli and asparagus are ok. But I just cook it long enough to kill the bacteria, if it's overcooked I'm not gonna touch it.

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44276343)

I hated broccoli as a kid, but I love it now, can't have enough of it. And I hate brussels sprout - except when raw. Raw brussels sprout is fantastic, and cooked makes me vomit. What does that make me?

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | about a year ago | (#44272349)

At least there is one issue that I agree with the President on. Broccoli makes me happy!

Re:The President should be pleased (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44272385)

I am happy to agree with President Obama on this matter, and believe that President George H.W. Bush's position is ill considered. I wonder if he ever tried the one below?

Broccoli-Raisin salad is tasty indeed.

 

Even more patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271983)

Another patent coming for broccoli? (see http://www.naturalnews.com/041014_Monsanto_seed_patents_GMOs.html )

Real scientists... (4, Interesting)

demon driver (1046738) | about a year ago | (#44271999)

... eat Romanesco broccoli [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Real scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272977)

No, real scientists *look at* Romanesco.

I found fresh broccoli, with little stem, steamed, with butter and a bit of black pepper, to still beat Romanesco in taste.

As a side dish for the actual food (meat), of course. ;)

Re:Real scientists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44273047)

Meat is disgusting. It's a low class form of food.

Re: Real scientists... (1)

pollarda (632730) | about a year ago | (#44274001)

Why eat your vegetables when you can get a cow or a pig to eat them for you?

The children! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272007)

Won't somebody think of the children!?

Re:The children! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44276363)

Haven't people told you? When talking about sadists, wishing them to be pedophiles to boot is not considered socially appropriate.

broccoli sucks. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44272017)

that's all.

I'd rather eat paprika laced with bugs for the same effect.

Re:broccoli sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272083)

There is something wrong with you if you don't like broccoli.

Re:broccoli sucks. (2)

digitig (1056110) | about a year ago | (#44272099)

That, or somebody forgot to put the cheese sauce on the broccoli.

Re:broccoli sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272967)

Raw with perhaps a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious.

Re:broccoli sucks. (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#44275355)

Or, baked for 20 mins on high temperature (220 degrees celsius) and then tossed with lemon/lime juice and parmesan

Re:broccoli sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272287)

Genetics says otherwise.

Re:broccoli sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272375)

The same "genetics" that make you a fat, grease eating slob, no doubt.

Re:broccoli sucks. (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44272177)

So we can answer the question from the article: to make perfect broccoli, nuke it from the orbit, that's the only way to be sure. That's the only good kind of broccoli.

Re:broccoli sucks. (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44272549)

So we can answer the question from the article: to make perfect broccoli, nuke it from the orbit, that's the only way to be sure. That's the only good kind of broccoli.

Careful not to over-nuke it though, otherwise the nutrients are lost.

Re:broccoli sucks. (3)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a year ago | (#44272389)

Just make sure you've had it done right before writing it off entirely. If all you've ever had was over boiled green goo, then it'll be easy to assume you don't like broccoli, but cooked so that it is firm yet tender in a good stir fry, or in any other of the many right ways to do it, broccoli's good stuff. Maybe you really don't like it, I just hope you've fairly evaluated it before coming to that decision.

Re:broccoli sucks. (2)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44272759)

It's funny, really:

article: "broccoli in stores sucks, fresh is almost never available, etc etc "

/. : "Whatever, screw that, all broccoli (that I've eaten from those same grocery stores) sucks!"

(Not to take emphasis away from the pile that is over-boiled broccoli)

Re:broccoli sucks. (1)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | about a year ago | (#44275817)

If the broccoli's any good you can eat the florets raw. Boiling it is always wrong, if you have to cook it light steaming is less destructive and stir frying even better since the core is still mostly raw.

Re:broccoli sucks. (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44276591)

that's all.

I'd rather eat paprika laced with bugs for the same effect.

You do, and, you pay a premium price for the opportunity.

what could go wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272021)

2020... study released that shows modifications made to super brocolli actually harmful and increase the likelyhood of cancer.

Cue the Luddites (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272025)

Cue the Luddites telling us how bad every last thing that can be thought of as a GMO is. Maybe this scientist will get threatening calls, mail, etc. now from crazies that this information is available. Hell, even Mike Elgan (https://plus.google.com/+MikeElgan/posts) might post one of his anti-GMO rants about this.

Re:Cue the Luddites (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272059)

No GMO Broccoli! Or Broccoli of any other sort!

Re:Cue the Luddites (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a year ago | (#44273349)

Funny thing about broccoli is that, much like corn, wheat, and strawberries, it was created by humans. Go back a ways in time, and you will not find broccoli, only the wild mustard plant that it was bred from. If breeding things like broccoli and corn were developed today, there'd be plenty of folks going on about the proven dangers of broccoli that are totally scientific and not just justifications for their own superstitions, and how changing the form of the plant is totally different than standard breeding,and how we should ban it.

And speaking of which, I wonder if anyone will complain about the glucoraphanin levels like they do about the Bt in crops.

This work compared to Monsanto's? (1)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#44272069)

The distinction seems pretty narrow, depending on what you do and don't classify as "genetic engineering". There might not be a distinction at all. We'll have an answer if Bjorkman succeeds and then files for a patent.

one of the deadliest plans on earth (3, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44272075)

Dr. Hibbert: Another broccoli-related death.
Marge: But I thought broccoli was...
Dr. Hibbert: Oh yes. One of the deadliest plants on earth. It tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste.

Re:one of the deadliest plans on earth (5, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44272077)

And i'll pretend that the typo in the subject was subtly deliberate.

Patent (3, Interesting)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#44272143)

Broccoli is already patented by Monsanto.
We're not talking about a genetically mutilated Monsanto broccoli, but they patented open source broccoli.

http://www.realfarmacy.com/monsanto-patent-on-natural-broccoli-seeds/ [realfarmacy.com]

Re:Patent (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44272609)

As much as I hate Monsanto, I really don't trust much from realfarmacy. Especially after reading this [realfarmacy.com] .

Re:Patent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272853)

They're also busy protecting our precious body fluids from communism by fighting fluoridation [realfarmacy.com] . Also 80% of the world is about to kick their wheat habit because wheat is toxic [realfarmacy.com] ...and every cancer can be cured in weeks [realfarmacy.com] . So much concentrated kook...is it real or a parody, and how can you tell?

Re:Patent (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#44275329)

It was the first source I could find. There are many others if you don't like this one.

What Monsanto did here, is take an existing crop and cross-breed (?) it so it is easy to harvest. What they patented is the properties, size of the crown and the stem of the broccoli that make it easy to harvest.. The problem is that broccoli like that already is grown. Suddenly that is not allowed any more. The other problem is they also patented hybrids. So if their broccoli pollutes your open source broccoli, you're fucked. You can be sure you have to pay up. They have done that before.

Re:Patent (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44276039)

Alright, I bit. And found the patent in question [epo.org] . It does also claim any further modification (i.e. accidentally cross-pollinated) varieties (item 0047). Exactly how it would hold up in court I think remains to be tested, but yeah, fuck Monsanto's patent trolling (the patent is granted to Seminis seeds, which is owned by Monsanto [monsanto.com] )

Re:Patent (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#44276073)

Patent Trolling is one thing. Food Trolling is the part that really pisses me off.
Also Cotton Trolling (trolling the farmers in India). Farmers start to realize Monsanto cotton is not a good solution for them (the seeds are four time as expensive as normal seeds). They want out, but by now there normal cotton seeds are hardly available.

Re:Patent (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44276171)

Yeah, you're right, Monsanto is at least a couple more orders of magnitude higher on my shit list than simple patent trolls. I guess I just thought since this was slashdot it was the easiest, dirtiest descriptor at my disposal in so many words.

Re:Patent (2)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a year ago | (#44276381)

a genetically mutilated Monsanto broccoli

You mean one produced by technology? Yeah,. I hate technology! Or do you mean one that isn't a wild mustard? Did you know broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussel's sprouts, and kohlrabi are all the same species, bred from an ancestral wild mustard? Doesn't get more genetically mutilated than that.

but they patented open source broccoli.

Really? Or did they develop their own variety and patent that? Which would be like making something new out of wood then some clueless/lying fearmonger says wood is patented.

Re:Patent (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#44276419)

They enhanced existing broccoli and patented the enhanced properties of it, but that is done in such a way that even existing types of open source broccoli could/would fall under that patent prohibiting (or pay licence fees) farmers to grow the broccoli that they grew before without licence.

This sounds as great news in 30+ years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272169)

This sounds as great news in 30+ years as then the patents will have expired and farmers can actually use it for growing food cheaper, better, and safer.

Re:This sounds as great news in 30+ years (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44274405)

Safer? The bad taste is a feature. It tells you your food is no longer fresh and possibly unsafe to eat.

WTF is this? (3, Informative)

frisket (149522) | about a year ago | (#44272207)

...in most parts of the country it is only available from local growers during the cooler weeks at either end of the growing season...

What country is this you speak of? AFAIK broccoli is on the shelves of my local stores pretty much all year. Sure, it's imported from somewhere insanely far away like China or Africa or Tierra del Fuego half the time, but it's there.

Not that I eat it, mind you. It's on the banned list, like Brussels sprouts. As Nicholas Freeling said about British peas, all I can suggest is that it be put into concrete barrels with radioactive waste and the Mafia, and sunk in the ocean.

--
"I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed inter-state commerce." -- J Edgar Hoover

Re:WTF is this? (2)

cute-boy (62961) | about a year ago | (#44272301)

Same here in Australia, we get broccoli all year around... Even in it's colder parts Australia is pretty hot in summer, and it's grown in Australia, rather than being imported from a far-away place (although perhaps it uses environmentally unsound quantities of precious water resources to produce).

-R

Re:WTF is this? (2)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#44272387)

I think they are talking about it only being available from local farmers certain times of the year. Most of the time I would imagine it's imported from somewhere globally where it's currently in season.

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272449)

I've lived for many years on both the East Coast of the United States--Virginia, D.C., Connecticut, and the West Coast--California. You can't compare the fresh vegetables you get year-round in California to the scraps they sell on the East Coast. Sure, it's a step up from eating canned vegetables 6 months out of the year, like they did 50 years ago, but it's just not as good. Also, while broccoli remains common, selection sucks on the East Coast.

Fresh vegetables year round is just a blessing that can't be appreciated unless you've lived with it. Of course, California can't grow everything all 12 months, so you often get stuff from Mexico. And most fruits are still seasonal, of course. But, seriously, the East Coast is like a food desert compared to California. There's simply no comparison, even if you factor in the greenhouses on the East Coast that ship a paltry amount of semi-decent vegetables.

I grew up in Chicago and Florida, and lived on the East Coast, and honestly I'm astounded every time I walk into a California grocery store, even after 10 years. It doesn't matter whether it's a Whole Foods, Safeway, or even a cheap Mexican or Asian grocery... the consistent freshness and diversity of the produce is like something out of a dream.

Re:WTF is this? (2)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44272471)

Bingo. It's grown year-round here in California, which AFAIK is the primary source of broccoli for North America. There has to be some difference (age? time since being cut?) between the broccoli sent to other areas versus sold here in local stores, though -- the stuff here rarely has a markedly unpleasant or bitter flavor, especially when cooked, and nobody I knew growing up had a real problem with it more than any other veggie.

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44275291)

WTTW, I'd advise trying to live in Salinas (say maybe you want to commute to San Jose) if you hate the smell of Brussel Sprouts. The stench is impressive when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272783)

I don't get people's problem with broccoli. It's basically the most tasty form of *cabbage*. (Yes, think "cabbage".)

Most people simply overcook it. 2-3 Minutes in boiling water... tops. Or steamed. Never more! Then put a dollop of butter on top, maybe some almond slivers... and of course a bit of freshly ground black pepper.

It's a great side-dish.

Re:WTF is this? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44273109)

Well, calling it 'tasty cabbage' doesn't sound exactly appetizing.......

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276867)

It tastes of vegetable. The same as every other vegetable.

Re:WTF is this? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44273105)

...in most parts of the country it is only available from local growers during the cooler weeks

"local growers" is the key noun-phrase you seem to have missed

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44274631)

Actually, the sentence is worded poorly and ambiguously. You can just as correctly read the sentence as saying broccoli is available solely from local growers and is thus only available seasonally or that broccoli from local growers is only available seasonally while broccoli from non-local growers is available year round.

Re:WTF is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44275111)

AFAIK broccoli is on the shelves of my local stores pretty much all year.

Apparently the stuff you've eaten in the past isn't fresh or wasn't prepared well? Though, I'm not aware of a huge difference between the frozen stuff and fresh stuff.

Broccoli is okay, it's just like dense lettuce. Melt some Velveeta cheese over it in a microwave and it's pretty tasty. Because broccoli looks a bit like miniature trees or shrubs, I always imagined when I was a kid that I was a giant devouring a forest.

Cauliflower with ranch dressing is also good. Peanut butter is great on celery and carrots. Notice a pattern? I don't eat these foods raw by themselves. That said, I've never had to eat brussel sprouts because my own parents refused to ever buy them when I was younger. I've smelled steamed brussel sprouts before, and that by itself was enough to make me gag. So, I understand how people can be repulsed by certain vegetables. I'm sure there's a common bad way to cook broccoli that makes it taste and smell terrible.

Chocolate flavor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272269)

Or Steak?
Either way, I'm in!

The only perfect broccoli is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272273)

the broccoli in the trash can.

Somebody shoot him quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272441)

People need to take action before Monsanto like terminators form! Do these people even think of the results of their work later down the road? Yeah, a smart machine would be great... but if it led to skynet... Anyhow, the real world isn't so dramatic - lots of little people feed the evil corporate beasts and ruin the environment and possibly even our HEALTH. (like the GM corn we eat today that gives rats cancer... and we'll not be allowed to conclude it for humans for many decades... and not because science can't prove it!)

We don't need Monsanto doing MORE harm to Broccoli. Besides, the plant is healthy and good the way it is - when you hack it to do things it wasn't intended to do you change more than just a few variables. The new ones will be lacking in some way when they grow differently and while that might be mild... it could have long term implications such as putting the real plant into endangered status (like some bananas and others) so people then eat the GM one and everybody lacks instead of just the few who didn't previously have access to it. We already have plenty of info out there on how over farming is sapping the trace minerals from our diets because those minerals are replenished SLOWLY. it's a problem we are becoming aware of now (and the multivitimin corps love it) but back when we were starting this over farming you were just a Luddite by opposing it-- the food seemed the same... well it is not. we have proof.

Ok, some people in this over populated world will starve or whatever. tough. get over it. Humans will multiply to the limit of resources and will always have starving populations. Every animal population will go too far by nature and then reality (aka nature) will cause the extras to DIE... That is if a balance of the food chain doesn't cut their numbers down to reasonable levels... the animals at the top of the food cycle always STARVE because the only predator for them is hunger. Humans, same thing. If we could THINK and act responsibly we'd not repeat the process of that all dumb animals do... So, are we above the other animals or are we no better?

the perfect broccoli (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272371)

is something that doesn't taste of broccoli or have the texture of broccoli. broccoli is like cauliflour.. destined to be smotherd in some rich sauce because it tastes like crap.

Re:the perfect broccoli (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44274975)

Cauliflour? Is that used for baking caulibread and caulicakes?

The perfect broccoli (4, Funny)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#44272515)

First take a beef patty and grill it over a charcoal or propane grill for 8 minutes, 4 on each side. While doing that toast a hamburger bun. Rest the patty for a minute, put on the bun and dress with some ketchup, mustard, a few pickles and some cheese.(Lettuce, onion, and tomatoes are optional.) Then take the broccoli and throw it to the rabbits in your backyard so you'll have some cute bunnies to watch while you eat your burger. (Oh, a don't forget to have a beer or coke while you're enjoying that perfect broccoli.)

Re:The perfect broccoli (2)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a year ago | (#44272613)

You can grill broccoli too you know. I find that meat is often overrated and vegetables to be much better main dishes than most would assume.

Re:The perfect broccoli (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272645)

That's because you're a freedom hating Communist.

Re: grilled broccoli (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272859)

I can confirm that my dogs seem to enjoy grilled broccoli more than raw broccoli.

Re:The perfect broccoli (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272727)

And then wonder why your arteries are all clogged up and you can't even run a mile.

Re:The perfect broccoli (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44275551)

My rabbits get stinking, sticky poo from broccoli. So I'd rather feed them something else.

How to grow the perfect broccoli: (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44272611)

Not growing it

Can they make it more digestable? (1)

erice (13380) | about a year ago | (#44273123)

I like broccoli but, like many people, I don't feel so well after I eat very much of it.

Re:Can they make it more digestable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44275237)

Good news, they can be more digestable. Cooking is a kind of pre-digestion, because it breaks down the food. In the case of vegetables, steaming perserves the most nutritional value (supposedly, compared to boiling, baking or grilling). You could also try blending or grinding it with other vegetables to make something like a vegetable juice, perhaps filtering it if you want it to have a smoother texture.

If that doesn't work well enough or has the opposite effect, maybe just eat them in moderation as side dishes for other meals to slow down their digestion.

Why make it sweet? (1)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about a year ago | (#44273287)

This sounds like the end of broccoli. Let's genetically modify it to pack itself with modified corn syrup, then even healthy vegetables can make you fat!

Also, the only reason I can think for people not liking broccoli is cooking it to death. It needs gentle treatment. 'Al dente' purple-sprouting broccoli was a real treat when I was a child at home, when it was in season.

Re:Why make it sweet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44274165)

If broccoli could produce corn that would be quite a feat...

That being said, broccoli is fine and awesome on its own, no need to fuck around with it.

Re:Why make it sweet? (1)

tsa (15680) | about a year ago | (#44275563)

I was wondering about that too. Americans must have everything sweet, it seems. And sweet veggies are just wrong...

Not prtgect (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44273781)

It's not perfect until it tastes like bacon.

We all know Perfect Broccoli is (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year ago | (#44274371)

Beer.

Year-round (1)

EvilGrin5000 (951851) | about a year ago | (#44274589)

Or, you know, we could learn to eat vegetables that are in season locally instead of trying to live off of a handful of vegetables year-round.... Kale is amazing, green mustards and chard... amazing greens and definitely under-appreciated.

As a side note, Romanesco broccoli is probably the best kind. Steam it and eat it as is! Or, if you'd like, with just a dab of good olive oil and a pinch of salt/pepper. Some people like to add a little lemon juice as well. This is how I usually eat broccoli and I've never been let down. Also, I don't seem to get an upset digestion after consuming the Romanesco variety as opposed to the traditional broccoli, this also holds true for broccolini (or broccolette).

NY hot and steamy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44274779)

while new york and iowa measures the days its 100+ degrees, some of us measure that in weeks if not months

fuck new york, if you didnt pave every square inch of your land you might not thing 106 for 3 hours to be hot

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44275501)

A fool's quest, given that everybody's sensory and digestive systems are unique.
Each of us experiences a slightly different taste when we taste the same thing.
In fact, each head of broccoli differs slightly in composition.

In Australia... (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about a year ago | (#44275649)

We just pack the broccoli in styrofoam boxes with a bit of ice. Seems to work great. The stores just store the boxes in a cold room upon delivery. Rocket surgery, I know.

Also, if you think broccoli tastes bad then I suggest the problem is your cooking skills or your belief in anti-vegetable propaganda (probably fed to you as a child) and not the vegetable.

I wonder if Broccoli can be gassed like apples. Most people are unaware that the "fresh" apples they get in store are actually a few years old. The secret is keeping them in a store room filled with a gas to stop them from ripening further and going off.

Re:In Australia... (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about a year ago | (#44276093)

I think the gassing works well to prevent ripening, browning, and other oxygen reactions, but if I'm not mistaken it doesn't stop other cellular processes going on in the plant (icing probably works reasonably well for that though, in some cases for produce that can take it). Gassed fruit still isn't the anywhere near the same as same-day-picked, IMHO.

broccoli (1)

ericartman (955413) | about a year ago | (#44275865)

Well IMO steaming broccoli is the problem, never really liked it much that way. Now baked in the oven is a game changer for me, love it love it, oh and raw isn't bad either.

Nice, but... (1)

jandersen (462034) | about a year ago | (#44276379)

I like broccoli, but I also like the fact that most vegetables, fruits and other things are seasonal. One of the results of supermarkets always having everything - strawberries, apples, everything - is that you can only get the varieties that either keep indefinitely, can be force-grown or can be shipped in from the other side of the globe, which means you can only get apples that are like wood, strawberries like potatoes etc.

The other effect is of course that it all becomes commonplace and therefore less attractive. It makes a huge difference when you haven't tasted oranges since last Christmas, and they start arriving just around November or there abouts. Even things like green beans and cabbages taste great when you haven't seen them for months.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>