Steamed broccoli smothered with butter and sprinkled with salt is a favorite side dish in our household. I like to buy organic broccoli (when I can) and cook it a couple times a week. It makes a great accompaniment to a roast chicken or salmon dinner, and the kids love it too!
Why Broccoli is So Good For You
Broccoli is high in carotenoids, vitamin C, chromium (which helps prevent diabetes) and contains B complex, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium as well. It also contains some protein and fiber. It is rich in indoles (as are all members of the cruciferous family), which is a potent anticancer substance as well as.
Broccoli is loaded with glutathione! Glutathione is found at very high concentrations in the lens of the eye and when eaten in the form of broccoli, cabbage, and parsley, it helps to protect the eye from cataracts. Glutathione is also an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer. Studies show that people who prefer to eat broccoli have lower rates of all kinds of cancer. When you cook broccoli, 30-60% the glutathione is lost. (100% is lost in canning.) (From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, p. 192 and p. 374)
But Watch Out!
Broccoli also contains glucosinolates which prevent the uptake of iodine and affect the function of the thyroid so they are considered goitrogens. When iodine uptake is interfered with, it can result in an enlargement of the thyroid, known as a goiter. This is really only something to watch out for if broccoli and other cuciferous vegeatables (brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower) are eaten in excess. So don’t go too overboard on eating them!
Steaming is the Best
By steaming broccoli, you are lessening the effects of the goitrogens while maintaining the valuable nutrients packed within. I also think it tastes the best!
- Broccoli (One head of organic is best.)
- Steamer Pan (Get one here.)
- Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
- Prepare the Steamer: Fill the steamer with water and turn the heat to high.
- Chop up the Broccoli: Sometimes I like cutting it into more bite size pieces before steaming, and sometimes I just chop off the stalk. (You can eat the stalk too if you’d like.)
- Add the Broccoli: Place the broccoli in the steamer. When I can, I like to position the head of the broccoli facing up so that the top doesn’t get overcooked.
- Cover and Steam for 5 Minutes: Once the water comes to a boil, I like to turn down the heat just a bit so it’s still boiling, but not spurting water out. The broccoli should be bright green and tender when it’s done.
- Cold Water Bath: Run the broccoli under cold water to stop it from cooking any further. This will help the broccoli to hold its color. I usually skip this step, however, because I want the butter to melt easily.
- Butter and Salt: Cut into florets, smother with butter, sprinkle with salt, and serve.