Although it won’t be winning any popularity contests, broccoli is bursting with nutrients that can help to fight cancer and type 2 diabetes, as well as improve gut health. Unfortunately, the cooking processes that these veggies go through before they reach your plate can rob them of a lot of that nutrition.
To get broccoli into more meals without losing the nutritional value, researchers at Hort Innovation and the Australian national science agency CSIRO developed some broccoli powder. This stuff is made up of 100% whole broccoli, and its creators say that the pre-treatment and drying processes that are used allow the end product to retain the natural flavor, color, and nutrients of the fresh vegetable.
Two tablespoons of the powder equate to about one serving of broccoli, the team says. It can be used to make broccoli soups and smoothies, add nutrients to baked foods, or even just to hide this unpopular vegetable from fussy children.
Mary Ann Augustin, the lead researcher on the project, says that “the broccoli powder has already been used for the production of extruded snacks with high vegetable content. Prototype extruded snacks with 20-100% vegetable content were displayed during National Science Week at the Queen Victoria Market last year and were well-received by parents and even by kids.”
However, the strangest experiment using this powder came from a Melbourne café, which used the powder to make a broccoli latte. The reception was apparently mixed, but if pumpkin can pull it off, there’s surely hope for any vegetable.
The team also says that the broccoli powder can also be beneficial to farmers. Supermarkets are very picky about the vegetables that end up on their shelves, leading to a huge amount of wasted produce that’s not presentable enough for stores but is otherwise perfectly fine. Turning those unwanted plants into powder reduces food waste and can give growers a new revenue stream.
To get this powder on the market, the researchers plan to conduct consumer sensory evaluation trials, to make sure that people will actually eat it.