Giant People Eat Purple

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Generally giant purple people eaters wear felted suits and love you

like a friend. Purple broccoli is eaten and loved by many and is 500x

more nutritious then felt, so don't be fooled. The broccoli (Brassica

oleracea italica) that looks like it was dipped in purple ink in your

HealthCase this week was organically-grown by Short Night Farm in

Dunnigan in California’s Central Valley.

Farmers Jeff and Patrick McAravy have been growing this old variety,

originally cultivated in Japan, for 20 years now. “The

Japanese are concerned about color because certain colors are good

luck. They really like vivid coloration in their vegetables,”

said Patrick. The purple adds to the growing array of unusual rainbow

foods such as orange cauliflower (which was in last week’s

HealthCase), yellow carrots, and red-leafed spinach. The purple color

indicates the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin – a

powerful free-radical slayer, the same found in acai and blueberry.

To prepare this special broccoli Farmer Patrick reminds the chef not

to overcook: “If you cook it quickly, it'll retain its

color,” he said. Cut broccoli stems and flowerets into

fork-able pieces. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water and

cook until desired tenderness then drop them in a bowl of ice water to

stop the cooking. Don't cook in aluminum or copper pans as it will

react with their sulfur compounds. Toss cooked flowerets into a

stir-fry of oil and browning garlic and onion with a dash of red

pepper flakes for a bright tasty dish.

The ancient Roman botanist Pliny the Elder, French Queen Catherine De

Medici, and Thomas Jefferson all knew this nutrient-dense veggie and

propagated it. Broccoli was brought to the U.S. by Italian immigrants

in the 1800s but didn’t become popular until the d'Arrigo

Brothers broke ground in California and cornered the emerging market

with the Andy Boy brand. Smaller farms like Short Night stick with

special varieties, like the purple, loading their trucks bound for the

San Francisco Farmers’ market and making for Short Nights and

Long Days. Enjoy this special variety, upheld for a generation of

organic farming.


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