Cruciferous vegetables are those that belong to the broccoli family. They include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, watercress, bok choy and turnips. These vegetables are really good for you – they are all high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and also contain a high level of antioxidants. Studies have shown that eating cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis helps to provide protection against cancer.
Choosing cruciferous vegetables
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to cruciferous vegetables. Along with traditional varieties of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, you’ll now find newer varieties, such as broccoflower, at your local greengrocer’s. Other broccoli varieties include broccolini, which has smaller heads and longer stems, and purple broccoli. Look out for Asian varieties of cruciferous vegetables, such as Chinese broccoli and bok choy.
When you’re shopping, look for fresh florets and leaves with strong colours. Brown tips on broccoli or cauliflower florets indicate that the tops will taste bitter.
Storing cruciferous vegetables
Keep your cruciferous vegetables wrapped in the fridge. Try to eat them as quickly as possible for freshness and taste.
Using cruciferous vegetables
There are endless uses for these versatile vegies. From salads to stir-fries, they add flavour, colour and texture to your food. Remember not to overcook them though – especially broccoli and cabbage. Many of the nutrients will be lost if you cook your cruciferous vegetables for too long. Broccoli can be eaten raw if you add it to a salad. Alternatively, blanch it or lightly steam and cool before adding to your salad.