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Broccoli

$3.50

1 bunch (~1.25 lbs)

Broccoli is probably the most familiar brassica, its cousins being cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, and bok choy. Because of its different components, this vegetable provides a complex of tastes and textures, ranging from soft and flowery (the florets) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk).

If you've had a hard time with broccoli in the past, try roasting it with salt and pepper with a little bit of olive oil or even do a quick pickle. Or toss pasta with olive oil, pine nuts and steamed broccoli florets, purée cooked broccoli and cauliflower, then combine with seasonings of your choice to make a simple, yet delicious, soup. Add broccoli florets and chopped stalks to omelets (sautee a bit first to soften).

Broccoli can last 3-6 days in the refrigerator. Either sprinkle with water and wrap in paper towels or cut bottoms and put in water like flowers (and refrigerate).

Broccoli can be steamed, roasted (with olive oil and cubed garlic), sauteed, juiced, or even fried. It's quite versatile. Pairing with other savory flavors (i.e. salt, garlic) brings out the flavors of the broccoli while masking some of its bitterness.

The most-studied gene for bitter taste receptor, TASR38, comes in two types. People who have only one type or the other may be at the extremes — they are either very sensitive to bitterness or don't taste it unless it's very strong. But most people are somewhere in between, having one copy of each type.

However, even for people with both genes, their perception of bitterness ranges. Scientists theorize this has to do with how individuals have learned to regard certain foods with a bitterness component: If family or friends regard it as bitter, then they're more likely to have the biology that says it's bitter.

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