With June comes the start of summer and an abundance of fresh produce available at the Letcher County Farmers Market. An in-season produce offering you may not necessarily associate with late spring and early summer is broccoli.
Broccoli actually has two growing seasons in Kentucky. Kentucky growers began harvesting their first crop in May and will continue to harvest through early July. The second season ends with a harvest in the late fall.
You can steam, boil or microwave broccoli or enjoy it raw. As you will see in the Plate It Up Kentucky Proud recipe below, it can give a flavorful and healthy twist to popular summer dishes.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetable that you can eat. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, beta carotene, folic acid and phytochemicals. Researchers recommend you consume several servings of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts several times a week due to their high antioxidant levels. A diet high in antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing some forms of cancer as well as heart disease.
When shopping at the market, choose broccoli that has tender, young and darkgreen stalks with tightly closed buds. If you purchase about 1.5 pounds of broccoli, you’ll get four, one-half cup servings. Store broccoli, unwashed, in the refrigerator for no more than three to five days in a perforated plastic bag. Wash just before preparing to maintain its texture and prevent mold from forming.
Contact the Letcher County Extension Office for more information on ways to prepare in-season produce or about our local farmer’s market offerings.
For more Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud recipes, visit fcs-hes.ca.uky.edu/piukp-recipes, or contact the Extension Office for recipe cards.
Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad
Ingredients: 3/ 4 cup diced pecans; 8 ounces whole grain pasta (bowtie or other); 5 slices turkey bacon; 2 cups seedless red grapes; 1 pound fresh broccoli; 3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise; 1/4 cup honey; 1/3 cup diced red onion; 1/3 cup red wine vinegar.
Yield: 16, ½ cup servings
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for five to seven minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Prepare 8 ounces of pasta according to package directions. Cook bacon according to package directions. Cool and crumble into small pieces. Cut the broccoli florets from the stems and separate florets into small pieces using the tip of a paring knife. Slice 2 cups of grapes into halves. Whisk together mayonnaise, honey, diced red onion and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Add broccoli, cooked pasta and grapes; stir to coat. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Stir in bacon crumbles and diced pecans, just before serving.
160 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 4 g protein.