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While broccoli was brought from Italy to France by Catherine de Medici in 1533 when she married Henri II (her arrival marked the beginning of the creation of French haute cuisine), and even though Thomas Jefferson cultivated organic broccoli in his garden, broccoli didn't really become popular in the U.S. until after World War II. The name "broccoli" is the Italian plural diminuitive of "brocco", meaning a shoot or sprout.

Interestingly, while cooks can easily tell the difference between cauliflower and broccoli, botanists cannot, in terms of what differentiates one sprouting head of the brassica family from another.

Fall broccoli can be sweeter than summer broccoli because cool weather sweetens its taste. It is also a vegetable that freezes well --- and which, like corn, tastes remarkably more wonderful the day it is picked than any day afterwards.

Never cook broccoli in pans made of aluminum or copper, which react to the sulfur compounds in the vegetable, creating both nasty odors and flavors and destroying Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and folic acid.

Broccoli stalks are absolutely as edible as broccoli flowers; when shaved into thin strips, raw, they make excellent appetizers. Broccoli leaves are also good food, and contain tons of Vitamin A.

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