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HappyHealthy Newsletter: Broccoli

Publication Number: P3395
View as PDF: P3395.pdf

Broccoli is a super vegetable that can be enjoyed raw or cooked, alone as a yummy side, or added to salads or cooked dishes like pastas, soups, stir-fries, and casseroles. If you are not a fan of raw broccoli, try blanching, which makes broccoli more tender and less bitter. Use the following tips to help your family enjoy more broccoli!


  • When selecting broccoli, look for tight, dark green florets and firm stems.
  • Avoid broccoli with an odor or yellow, opening buds.
  • In Mississippi, purchase fresh broccoli in April and May or October and November when it is less expensive and more available.
  • During the off-season, choose frozen broccoli, which may cost less than fresh.


  • Make bite-sized pieces by cutting below the top and removing the stem. Cut the florets and stem into pieces.
  • Rinse bite-sized pieces just before using.
  • Be careful not to overcook broccoli! Crispy, tender broccoli is what you are looking for, not mushy, soft broccoli.


  • Keep fresh broccoli in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • If you have produce drawers in your refrigerator, keep vegetables in one and fruits in another.
  • Fresh broccoli can be blanched and frozen to keep color, flavor, and nutrients longer.
  • To learn more about storing, blanching, and freezing broccoli, visit HappyHealthy.MS and click on Tips and Videos.
    • How to Store Fruits and Vegetables
    • How to Freeze Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fun with Food

Children Can Help

  • At the grocery store, allow children to select broccoli.
  • In the kitchen, children can wash broccoli and prepare an ice bath to place broccoli in after blanching.

Children Can Learn

  • Raw or blanched broccoli makes a quick and easy snack and is fun to eat with healthy dips.
  • The florets are the flowers of the broccoli plant, so they are eating flowers!

Fresh Vegetables with Dip

  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chunky salsa
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Rinse green onions under cool water. Cut roots off white ends of onions. Cut tips off green ends. Cut onions into small pieces.
  3. Place the sour cream, salsa, green onions, and garlic powder into a small bowl. Stir until they are mixed together.
  4. Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise. Use your hands to pull out the stem, core, and seeds. Cut each pepper half into strips.
  5. Cut the leafy tops off the celery stalks. Cut the celery stalks into sticks.
  6. Serve the green bell pepper strips, celery sticks, and baby carrots with the sour cream dip. Broccoli is also great with this dip.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Broccoli Salad

  • 2 broccoli crowns, fresh
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup HappyHealthy Italian Dressing
  • salt and black pepper (optional)
  1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Wash broccoli, cut off stems, and cut into bite-size pieces. Add broccoli pieces to a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add shredded cheese, raisins, Happy Healthy Italian Dressing, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix with broccoli florets. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

How to Blanch Broccoli

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water.
  2. Use 1 gallon of water for every pound of broccoli.
  3. Pour rinsed broccoli pieces in a pot of boiling water. Bring to boil again.
  4. Let broccoli cook for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes until bright green. Remove pot from heat.
  5. Quickly place broccoli into a large bowl filled with ice water. Leave broccoli in the ice water for 2–3 minutes.
  6. Transfer the broccoli to a colander and allow to drain.





Publication 3395 (POD-04-24)

By Samantha Willcutt, Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Extension Northeast Region, Nutrition Education
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Portrait of Ms. Samantha Ann Willcutt
Regional Registered Dietitian

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