Broccoli is a man-made object. Wait, what?


It’s true. Your most/least favourite vegetable did not exist in nature. Like most things that are sold at grocery stores, broccoli was created by people. Here is what happened. A very long time ago when people learned to cook, there was kale. In the 6th century BC, some people in the Northern Mediterranean region started experimenting with their crops. They cross-bred some edible plants from the kale family, and ended up with broccoli. They tasted it, liked it, and continued to grow it. They named it “broccoli” after “broccoli” which means the flowering top of a cabbage; cabbage is also part of the kale family. So even though it grows in the ground, broccoli is a man-made creation.

Broccoli at the store

The Roman Empire enjoyed broccoli, and considered it a delicacy.  It became quite popular and eventually made its way to Belgium. From there, a nice man named Peter Scheemakers took it to England in the 18th century. The English didn’t know what it was, and used to call it “sprout colli-flower” or “Italian asparagus”. In the US, broccoli gained popularity in the 1920s and has been a part of North American grocery shelves since.

But the broccoli saga hasn’t ended there. People have continued to cross broccoli with other plants, and have created broccoflower (which is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower) am broccolini (which is a cross between broccoli and kale). It has become so popular in North America, they have an eating contest for broccoli lovers. The current world record holder for eating broccoli really fast, Tom “Broccoli” Landers, ate a pound of broccoli in 92 seconds.

Looks like this cancer-fighting veggie is one of our best creations.