Broccolini is a Brassica family hybrid of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) and gai lan (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra), first developed in 1993 by Sakata Seed Company in Yokohama, Japan.
This popular vegetable is grown for its asparagus-like long, tender stalks, topped with loose clusters of florets that resemble broccoli rabe. It has increasingly become popular amongst chefs for subtly sweet flavor with a peppery overtone.
Broccolini is an erect, quick-growing plant. This cool-season crop, however, is sensitive to frost. It tolerates moderate summers than broccoli. It grows well in sandy or loam soils rich in organic matter.
Broccolini is a unique hybrid crop in which, rather than forming a single large head like broccoli, it bears numerous small, tender side shoots.
To get desired side shoots, farmers remove the main stalk to enhance side shoot development. This feature of broccolini enables them to harvest 4-5 times a year, unlike its cousin broccoli which can be harvested only once.
Begin gathering broccolini shoots when they reach 6-8 inches tall, heads begin to form, and the leaves are dark green, usually about 60-70 days after planting.
Exposure to high temperatures makes their flower heads bolt and stalks become tough.
Use broccolini immediately if not packed in bundles and store in cold storage below 5 degrees.
Broccolini® is known by other names like Aspirations (by Sakata Seed company) or Aspabroc for its asparagus-like appearance of stalk and flavor. However, it is an hybrid of Italian Broccoli and Chinese Kale. It is not having any genetic ties with asparagus. These names were created from targeted marketing plans to popularize the new vegetable.
Broccolini is one of its own kind, new-found fame green-leafy vegetables. Its pale-green stalks topped with spear-shaped flowerheads are the storehouses of several phytonutrients that have proven health-promoting and disease-preventing properties.
Broccolini is low-calorie greens carrying just 29 calories per 3.5 oz (100g) and just 0.4 mg fats. Nonetheless, it holds several vital antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
It is a very good source of vitamin K, which has a potential role in bone-strengthening function through promoting osteoblastic activity. It also has an established role in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease through limiting neuron damage in the human brain.
As a member of Brassica family greens, broccolini is a rich source of antioxidants like flavonoids, indoles, sulforaphane, carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Indoles, mainly Di-indolyl-methane (DIM) and sulforaphane may offer protection against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
Fresh broccolini composes 123 μg of natural folates (about 31% of RDA) more than in broccoli rabe (21% of RDA). Folates plays a vital role in DNA synthesis and cell division. When supplemented in women during their peri-conception times, it may help prevent neural tube defects in newborn babies.
Fresh broccolini stalks are a moderate source of vitamin-C. 100 fresh leaves provide 20.2 mg (31% of RDA). Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful natural antioxidant that offers protection against free oxygen radicals and flu-like viral infections.
Broccolini heads consists 167 IU of vitamin-A. However, they also compose 298 μg of β-carotenes.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required for maintaining healthy mucosa, skin and hair. It is also essential factor for good night vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids is found to offer protection against lung, esophagus and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh broccolini greens are an excellent source of several essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, pyridoxine, thiamin, and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.
Regular consumption of Broccolini greens in the diet is known to prevent osteo-arthritis, weak bones (osteoporosis), iron deficiency anemia and believed to offer protection from cardiovascular diseases, and colon and prostate cancers.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percent of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.4 g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.7 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.23 mg||5%|
|Vitamin A||167 IU||5.6%|
|Vitamin C||12 mg||18%|
|Vitamin E||0.22 mg||1.5%|
Fresh broccolini in bunches can be readily available all year in the U.S.
Look for light green stalks with blue-green compact heads of florets and crispy, dark green leaves. Some flowering within each bunch may be permitted (6-8 yellow flowers per bunch). Choose equal size (6 inches long) cut stalks for even cooking.
Avoid any limp, cuts or splits in the stems, broken or crushed branchlets, or yellowing florets.
Also avoid, any bleached or discolored appearance (sunburn) and with soft, discolored water-soaked florets, leaf, or stalk tissues (freezing injury).
At home, keep the unwashed broccolini branchlets in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator soon after buying as they wither soon if kept at room temperature. Although they can be stored for up to 3-4 days in cold storage, fresh Broccolini greens should be used as soon as early as possible to get benefits.
Broccolini is increasingly becoming popular in the U.S and Europe, and Asia. Fresh flower buds and stems are used in a variety of cuisines.
Its long tender stalks, and small florets impart a subtly peppery and slightly sweet flavor that is reminiscent of asparagus. Its flavor complements well with mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, butter, olive oil, lemon, lobster, steaks, pork, cheese, carrots, onion, and sesame seeds.
Just before cooking, wash the leaves in clean running water to remove any surface sand. Trim away thick stem base if appear tough. Otherwise, just use them in cooking.
Use the whole stalk, chopped in chunks, or diced in cooking. Common cooking methods include grilling, sautéing, steaming, boiling, and stir-frying.
Here are some serving tips:
Fresh tender broccolini can be are eaten raw either as a salad.
Prepare just blanched baby broccoli and dress with balsamic vinaigrette.
It can be added to uplift the flavor and appearance of rice, pasta, and pizza dishes.
Reheating leftovers of leafy greens of Brassica family vegetables may cause conversion of nitrates to nitrites and nitrosamines by certain bacteria that thrive on prepared nitrate-rich foods, such as broccolini. These poisonous compounds may prove harmful to health.
Phytates and dietary fiber present in the Broccolini may interfere with the bioavailability of iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Broccolini, being a Brassica family vegetable, contains oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some vegetables which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. People with known oxalate urinary tract stones are advised to avoid eating vegetables belong to the Brassica family. Adequate intake of water is, therefore, necessary to maintain normal urine output.
Broccolini may also contain goitrogens which may interfere with thyroid hormone production and can cause thyroxin hormone deficiency in individuals with thyroid dysfunction.
Also read ≻≻-
≻≻- Broccoli nutrition facts.
≻≻- Cauliflower nutrition facts.
≻≻-Back to Vegetables from Broccolini. Visit here for an impressive list of vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and health benefits.
≻≻-Back to Home page.
Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk (Link opens in new window).
Specialty Produce (Link opens in new window).