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Broccoli scores big against cancer

(ran NP edition)

One vegetable seedling that is raring to go this time of year is broccoli, nestled among its cruciferous cousins.

Broccoli likes cool weather to grow, but its potential as a cancer-fighting food is hot news now, according to Jean Carper in The Food Pharmacy. Tests have found broccoli to be loaded with anti-cancer properties such as indoles, glucosinolates and dithiolthiones.

For pregnant and nursing women, broccoli is a sure bet for extra calcium, fiber and iron. It's also rich in vitamins C, A, some of the B's and potassium.

When buying broccoli, look for a deep, strong green or green tinged with purple. The budsshould be tightly closed and the leaves crisp. Avoid broccoli that shows yellow highlights, which are actually opening flower buds, because this signals a bunch past its prime.

Store unwashed broccoli in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator for four to seven days. To prepare broccoli, rinse the whole head under running water and cut off the florets into small chunks.

The stalks can be eaten also but peel them first. They can be cooked along with the florets or eaten raw in a salad or with a tangy dip.

Broccoli is easily steamed over an inch of water in a tightly covered pan until the florets are crisp-tender. Top the steamed broccoli with a dab of butter and lemon juice or slather the whole bunch with cheese.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

{ cup minced onion

1 tablespoon margarine

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1{ cups bouillon broth

2 cups chopped broccoli

{ teaspoon tarragon, crushed

\ teaspoon garlic powder

\ teaspoon ground thyme

Black pepper to taste

1 cup skim milk

Saute the onion in the margarine over medium-high heat in a saucepan until it is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add the broth and stir the mixture until it is well-blended.

Add the broccoli, tarragon, garlic powder, thyme and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Add the milk and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Add a quarter of the soup at a time to a blender and blend at a medium speed until the soup is smooth. Return the blended soup to a saucepan and simmer it until it is heated through. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 90 calories, 5.8 gm. protein, 9.23 gm. carbohydrates, 3.69 gm. total fat, 1.1 mg. cholesterol, .81 gm. saturated fat, 1.8 gm. dietary fiber, 368.5 mg. sodium, 4.13 gm. sugar, 141.4 retinol equivalents vitamin A, 42.88 mg. vitamin C, 109.9mg. calcium, .93 mg. iron, 0 alcohol.

Source: Your Good Health Garden, Pauline James, Woodbridge Press.

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