Broccoli is somewhat controversial in the vegetable kingdom; people either love it or loathe it, but its role as a highly valued food and nutrition has been established since the time of the Roman Empire.
Artichokes are kind of like broccoli in that regard, in that they are huge edible flowers. Florets and stalks of broccoli have a taste similar to cabbage, but like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli also resembles kohlrabi, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
Even chefs who love the taste of kale or chard would often throw out the bitter leaves when preparing broccoli for dinner. However, even if you obtain the same kind of broccoli, their flavor may vary widely, from mildly bitter to very bitter.
As Brassica oleracea italica, broccoli is edible, and it naturally grows in the Mediterranean region. It was derived from a member of cabbage family by the Etruscans, who were thought to be the master horticulturalists of their day.
Broccoli has two possible sources for its name: Broccolo, a traditional Italian term for the “flowering crest of a cabbage,” and Brachium, the Latin word for arm, branch, or stalk.
Broccoli was first held in high regard by the Italians, who brought it to England in the time of the Roman Empire. Still, when the vegetable was initially introduced to the country in the late 18th century, it was known as “Italian asparagus.”
While Thomas Jefferson, a prolific gardener, had earlier experimented with broccoli seeds he obtained from Italy in the late 1700s, it was not till Southern Italian immigrants began cultivating broccoli commercially in the early 1920s that the vegetable became widely available in the United States.
Over the last 30 years, broccoli consumption has increased almost thrice, owing to the many ways it may be prepared and the numerous health advantages it provides.