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Broccoli

Importance to Oregon

Oregon produces high quality vegetables and ranks fifth in vegetable production in the United States. In 2017, Oregon produced 777,000 tons of fresh use vegetables with a value of over $177 million.

The broccoli industry in Oregon is a fairly small industry compared to other commodities. There are 247 operations in the state of Oregon where broccoli is harvested. In Oregon, there is a total of 1,439 acres of harvested broccoli.

 

Broccoli - Collards
Broccoli is a cultivar of wild cabbage, this is a picture of Collards, a variety of cabbage.

History

Broccoli is a cultivar of wild cabbage, which originated along the coast of the Mediterranean and was domesticated thousands of years ago. Wild cabbage was eventually bred into many cultivars including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts and kohlrabi.

The origins of cultivating broccoli trace back to Italy in ancient Roman times and was first introduced to England in 1720. Broccoli was brought to America by Italian immigrants in the 1900s and started being commercially grown in California in the 1920s.

Calabrese Broccoli

Calabrese Broccoli

Calabrese broccoli is the most common type of broccoli grown in the United States. It has a large green head and thick stalk.

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe has thinner stalks and a stronger flavor than the calabrese. It is often used in Italian cuisine.

Broccoli Romanesco

Broccoli Romanesco

This type of broccoli is bright green in color and is related to traditional broccoli and cauliflower. This vegetable can be prepared like broccoli or cauliflower and has a similar taste.

Broccolini

Broccolini

Broccolini is also referred to as baby broccoli. It is a cross between calabrese broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has a long, slender stalk and small buds that resemble a calabrese broccoli floret. Broccolini has a sweeter flavor than calabrese broccoli.

 

Life Cycle

Broccoli plants require full sun, well-drained fertile soil and plenty of water. Plants should receive proper amounts of water as they have shallow root systems and can dry out quickly. Broccoli is also a heavy feeding plant, meaning it uptakes a lot of nutrients, and will benefit from fertilizer or compost application.

Broccoli is transplanted using a start, also known as a plug, or directly seeded into a field. In Oregon, planting typically takes place in the Spring once soil temperatures have reached 50 degrees Fahrenheit and after the possibility of a hard frost has passed. Broccoli is a cool-season crop that is sensitive to heat and should not be exposed to extreme temperatures.

Alternaria Leaf Spot

This is a fungal disease that causes small dark spots on the leaves. These spots show up in a round shape and become brittle and crack. This fungal disease is most popular during warm and rainy weather conditions.

Club Root

Club root is a fungal disease that causes the broccoli to grow slowly and the plants to be smaller than normal. The leaves turn yellow and wilt during the day but look healthy during the night time. Club root also causes the roots to swell.

Flea beetle

Flea beetles are tiny insects that are only 1.5 to 3 millimeter in length. One millimeter is the thickness of one penny! These insects are dark colored and they jump when they are messed with. Flea beetles eat small holes in the leaves. The plants that are most affected by flea beetles are the young plants and seedlings. If a plant is eaten by flea beetles it could have a significant reduction of growth.

Harvesting

Broccoli is ready for harvest when the head is firm and full size. Do not wait until the buds start to open. Broccoli is susceptible to wilting in the heat, so it is best to harvest in the morning when temperatures are cool. Once broccoli is mature, crews cut the head off of the plant with a small knife. This job is very labor intensive because each head has to be cut individually. Once the head is cut, broccoli is sorted from debris on a conveyor and deposited into a truck. Finally, broccoli is transported to a processing facility where it is kept cool until being processed or sent to market.

Uses

This kid-friendly broccoli soup recipe is very easy to make and is sure to be a hit!
Broccoli Soup

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli (about 1 large head)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
Broccoli Soup

Directions

  1. Remove the florets from the broccoli head and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Place half in a large bowl and half in a small bowl; set aside. Cut off the bottom of the stalk and use a vegetable peeler to trim away the woody outer layer. Cut the stalk into 1-inch pieces and place them in the large bowl with the florets; set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the potato and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Add the potato, chicken broth, water and reserved pieces of stalk and florets from the large bowl to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potato pieces and broccoli stalks can be easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the remaining florets into 1/4-inch pieces; set aside.
  4. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Place the blended soup in a clean saucepan and return it to low heat. Add the reserved broccoli florets and simmer until they are tender and can easily be pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and sour cream. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe provided by: https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/broccoli-and-cheddar-soup-29294

Fun Facts

  1. Broccoli has been consumed by Romans since as far back as 600 B.C.
  2. The name broccoli originated from the Italian word broccolo which means “flowering crest of a cabbage.”
  3. Broccoli is derived from cabbage and is a part of the mustard family.
  4. The most common variety of broccoli is Calabrese broccoli.
  5. The head of broccoli is composed of flower buds.
  6. Broccoli is a cool season crop.
  7. In 1724, Philip Miller’s “Gardener’s Dictionary” referred to broccoli as “Italian asparagus”.
  8. Broccoli is a good source of fiber and potassium.

Vocabulary Terms

Made up of small, thick, edible florets. The head of broccoli is the part that people eat.

A variety of plant that originated from another growing plant.

To remove a plant from one place and plant it in another place.

A small flower that is tightly clustered in groups on a head of broccoli.

A small but growing part of the plant.

The thin part of the broccoli where the florets are attached.

The thick, light green base of the head of broccoli.