Do You Know Broccoli Is Man Made Vegetable?

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Broccoli is one of the most versatile veggies, used widely in all sorts of cuisines. From being part of the pizza, and salad to dip and soups. Today we will be diving more into the nutritious and vibrant green veggie that looks very similar to a cauliflower and understand its origin. Not only this we will also be uncovering the most widely asked question about Broccoli, Is it a man-made vegetable or not?

Let’s start with knowing Broccoli…

What is Broccoli?

Broccoli is a vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. It has a flourishing green appearance with a tiny bloomed top which is the head. Traditionally it has always been limited to Italian cooking and cuisine. But in modern times, it is used everywhere for its healthy and protein-rich benefits. Not only that it also has Potassium, fibre, and vitamin C in high quantities and can be eaten in both ways, either in a cooked vegetable or a raw salad.

The word Broccoli comes from the Italian word “Broccolo” which means “Cabbage Sprout”.

Is Broccoli a GMO?

People misunderstood most of the vegetables such as Broccoli as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) plants. But that is not true at all. Broccoli comes from years of farmers picking plants with good traits and breeding them. This is called Selective breeding, and it takes many generations to get the desired results.

Origin of Broccoli

Broccoli was initially cultivated in Italy. But later around the year 1533, it started getting popular outside as well. Especially in the nearby European countries such as England.

America’s first introduction of broccoli was in the year 1806. United States’s 3rd president Thomas Jefferson had served it in the White House supper that year. Slowly and steadily the popularity of Broccoli kept growing in the states. And until 1922, the majority of Broccoli demand in the states was fulfilled within the country itself, in California.

At present, Broccoli is cultivated in most countries including China, India, the United States, Spain, Italy, etc.

How Broccoli is Man Made Vegetable? heard that right. Broccoli is a man-made vegetable with the way of selective breeding and not GMOs. And the story goes back to the 16th century in which, an Italian horticulturist (A person who practices the art of cultivating plants through scientific study) whose name is unknown, crossbred wild cabbage plants with other varieties of cabbage plants. As a result, a crossbreed vegetable was developed which they named after the cabbage sprout called Broccoli.

So Broccoli shares the same ancestor as cauliflower, Brussels sprout, and kale.

What are GMO Plants?

GMO plants aren’t made through selective breeding like regular crops. Instead, they undergo genetic engineering, where scientists change the plant’s genes to get certain traits, like disease resistance or a different size. This process is more precise and faster than selective breeding.

Genetic modification in agriculture is a fairly recent thing, mostly happening in the last 25 years. Even though today’s broccoli is technically “man-made,” it was still created using the traditional method of selectively breeding varieties for specific traits.

GMOs vs Breeding

Selective breeding, one way to change traits in plants, involves mixing two different plants with good qualities to get offspring with those qualities. This method takes a long time, often years or decades because it needs multiple generations of plants to get the desired traits. It’s slower than gene-splicing methods like genetic modification, and you might end up with extra seeds or “mutations” along the way. Even though these mutations weren’t planned, sometimes they turn out to be helpful!

On the other hand, genetic modification, or GMOs, aims to change a specific part of a plant. Scientists find the gene linked to a trait, like resistance to chemicals or pests, and alter it to add or remove that trait. This is much faster and avoids unexpected outcomes from crossbreeding. As of now, broccoli hasn’t gone through this kind of change, but other crops like Alfalfa and Corn have GMO versions for increased durability. Genetic modification isn’t less natural than selective breeding; it’s just more precise and efficient. GMOs show how agriculture is evolving and building on a practice that’s been around for centuries.

Different Varieties of Broccoli

There are different varieties of Broccoli as most of us are aware. But where did other broccoli come from?

Every type of Broccoli is man-made and Calabrese, Sprouting, and Purple Cauliflower are the most common broccoli types.

#1 Calabrese Broccoli

Calabrese Broccoli

Guess what, Our supermarkets are usually flooded with Calabrese Broccoli. It is also considered the most common type of Broccoli. It was originally cultivated in the Mediterranean region near Italy. The name Calabrese comes from the Italian region of Calabria.

#2 Sprouting broccoli

Sprouting broccoli
Source: Flickr/sofiagk

It is a type of Calabrese Broccoli that has a large number of heads with many stalks. It looks different than the original Calabrese because it is harvested before these heads turn into a common large head of Calabrese Broccoli.

The name Sprouting comes from the fact that this broccoli is still in sprouting state. It generally comes in two colours i.e., White and Purple. Best suited for fries and other related cuisines.

#3 Purple Cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower

This variety of Broccoli has its name ‘Purple cauliflower’. Because it looks very similar to a cauliflower. The captivating purple hue of this cauliflower variety is a result of the presence of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants responsible for the reddish-purple pigmentation observed in various fruits and vegetables.

Common places that grow this broccoli are Europe and America.

Brokali (Chinese Broccoli)

Brokali (Chinese Broccoli)

This variant of Broccoli is a hybrid between Calabrese broccoli and Chinese kale (a leafy green vegetable). It offers the right balance of flavour and nutritional benefits from both plants that stand out. If we talk about the taste Brokali is slightly sweeter than normal broccoli and is highly used in Asian cuisine.

Benefits of Broccoli

  • Packed with nutrients such as Potassium, Protein, vitamins A, C, K, etc
  • Helps in blood sugar control
  • Consider good for heart health, Brain Functioning, and slow down aging
  • Improves immune system

For learning more on the detailed benefits of Broccoli please check out Healthline – Benefits of Broccoli

Is Selective Breeding and GMOs Sustainable?

Selective breeding is a natural and long-lasting way to improve plants, and it’s been used for centuries to create many of the foods we love, including broccoli. Selective breeding takes a lot more time than GMOs but this approach is sustainable because it allows crops to adapt to the environment.

On the other hand, GMOs help plants thrive while using fewer natural resources, like water. Some GMOs are made to make plants more resistant to pests, reducing the need for chemicals on crops. Both selective breeding and GMOs show how modern agriculture is changing to make farming more efficient and sustainable.


Broccoli is a man-made vegetable, that traditionally originated in Italy and is now grown in most of the countries. It has various types such as Calabrese, Sprouting, Purple Cauliflower, etc. that also came out of various cross-breeding and are man-made.

Did you enjoy reading about Broccoli? Do read out about the Nutritional benefits of Eating Eggs

Credible Reference and Sources

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