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Not Everyone Is A Fan of Broccoli But They Don't Know What They're Missing

Spicy Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry is one of my favorite ways to eat broccoli.


“I do not like broccoli. I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.” That statement was made by President George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States. I must admit that I have not always been a fan of broccoli either. It is such an odd looking vegetable but one that I have learned to like.

Broccoli has been around for more than 2,000 years. The first commercially grown broccoli was grown and harvested in New York, then planted in California in the 1920’s. A few crates were sent back East and by 1925 the broccoli market was up and running.

Broccoli is bursting with nutrients, including carotenoids and fiber. It is known for its cancer-fighting properties and its nutrients which include vitamins A and C, fiber, folic acid, calcium, and potassium.

It is a nutrient-dense food. One half cup of cooked broccoli provides 80% of the recommended daily allowances (RDA) for vitamin C, almost 15% of the allowance for folate, 30% for vitamin A, and 2% for iron.  It is also a good source of several B vitamins, other minerals and dietary fiber. All of this for only 25 calories per half cup serving!

Broccoli can be found year round in supermarkets. Soon it will be harvested in our area by local gardeners and should start showing up at the Gateway Farmers Market.

Selecting the best broccoli is easy. Choose bunches that are dark green, an indication of high nutrient value. Florets should range from dark green to bluish green. If the florets are open or discolored, or the stems look wilted, bent or seem rubbery, avoid those. These are signs of poor quality.

With its tight, compact head, it is subject to insect infestation. To clean, soak for 30 minutes in 1 quart of cold water with 1 tablespoon salt just before cooking. Rinse well to remove any residual salt. 

It is just as important to store it properly once you have purchased it. Store in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag for 2 to 3 days. Due to ethylene, which speeds the yellowing of broccoli, store it away from apples and pears.

Whether you are eating it raw, grilling, using in a stir-fry, or steaming it, first you must prepare it. Peel the stems to remove the woody layer and cut it into the desired size pieces. If you’ll be cooking the stem, it will need to cook slightly longer than the florets. Avoid overcooking because discoloration will occur. For best flavor, cooked broccoli should be crisp.

For more information or for a copy of Arkansas Fresh Broccoli, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at

Spicy Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry is one of my favorite ways to eat broccoli. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. It really comes together fast.


Spicy Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2-inch pieces

1 ounce unsalted peanuts or almond slivers

2 teaspoons oil, divided

1 medium onion, cut into ½ inch wedges

1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

2 cups broccoli florets (about 1 inch pieces)

1 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce


Prepare marinade by combining garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Place chicken in another bowl, sprinkle marinade over it; toss, cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Heat skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add nuts and cook 2 minutes or until beginning to lightly brown, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add 1-teaspoon oil to skillet, tilting to coat lightly. Add chicken and cook until done. Set aside on separate plate.

Add remaining teaspoon oil to skillet; cook onions and carrots for 2 minutes. Add broccoli and one fourth cup broth; bring to boil over medium high heat. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1-cup broth with cornstarch in a small jar; seal lid tightly and shake vigorously until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture with chicken, garlic and salt to broccoli mixture.  Cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat, sprinkle with soy sauce and nuts. Serve over brown rice.

Makes 4 (1 1/4 cup) servings.

Calories, 210; Total fat 7 g; Saturated fat 1 g; Protein 25g; Carbohydrate 12 g; Cholesterol 49 mg; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sodium 570 mg (this does not include the brown rice)

By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609


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