Is Broccoli On The Dirty Dozen

In recent years, nutritional knowledge of superfoods, organic produce, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and ways to source ethically produced food has become ever more prevalent. Among many of these topics, discussion and debate over the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a major topic for discussion. This list highlights the top twelve foods to consume organic due to their high contamination with pesticides. But does it include broccoli?

The Dirty Dozen list, as composed by the EWG, consists of twelve different fruits and vegetables that are composed of a high level of pesticide residue, despite being washed and cleaned. According to the 2020 list, apples, strawberries, spinach, kale, and nectarines are some of the top offenders. While it can be alarming to think of the potentially high levels of pesticide residue on these otherwise healthy foods, the EWG urges consumers not to try and avoid all of the items but to try and buy organic for the items that they include on the list. As far as broccoli is concerned, it does not appear on the list at all.

The reasoning for broccoli’s lack of presence on the list is rooted in the type of method used to grow the crop. According to the American Council on Science and Health, broccoli is rarely grown using the same type of pesticides or chemicals that are typically used on other items on the Dirty Dozen list. As such, its presence on the list would seem to be calculated as unnecessary. Though organic and non-GMO broccoli may be more expensive than its non-organic, more heavily pesticided counterparts, consumers should feel free to purchase conventional broccoli without feeling guilty.

When speaking with nutritional experts, the consensus is that broccoli is underutilized and highly underrated in terms of its potential nutritional value. Due to the fact that it is minimally exposed to pesticide residue, and due to its rich content of phytonutrients and antioxidants, broccoli is a great choice when compared to other more heavily pesticided fruits and vegetables. Some researchers go so far as to say that broccoli is an important superfood and that it is among the most nutritionally dense foods in our diet. For many, the added bonus of being relatively inexpensive to purchase has become an attractive reason to include it more in our everyday diets.

At the same time, some are advised to look at organic broccoli and other organic foods as an extra step to protect against any potential residue from other sources. However, experts agree that there is still no major threat of any chemicals present in conventional broccoli as it is typically grown with very few chemicals. Overall, it is safe to understand that consuming broccoli for its own nutritional properties, rather than for the avoidance of pesticide residue, is an ideal choice regardless of its organic classification.

Growing Broccoli

When it comes to growing broccoli, it is relatively easy to do and requires very little effort on the part of the gardener. Very few pests will bother it which means it can be grown relatively pesticide-free in an organic garden. Additionally, the broccoli plant takes up a relatively small space and can be planted close together. This makes it a great crop for any small garden. Furthermore, broccoli is relatively drought-tolerant, and can handle a decent amount of heat or cold.

Since it is a cool-season crop, broccoli should be planted in the early spring or late fall. Broccoli needs a long growing season of approximately sixty days to reach maturity, so it should be planted in an area that has that kind of time. Furthermore, it prefers a soil pH of around 6.5 and should be planted in a sunny spot. Lastly, it is important to note that if you want to have a continuous harvest, you should plant for successive harvests of every two weeks.

Nutritional Value

Broccoli has long been known for its nutritional value. Even though it is a member of the Brassica genus, which also includes cauliflower, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts, it is unique in its own right. It is also an excellent source of fiber, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin A, C, and K. Furthermore, it is low in fat and contains folate, zinc, and almost 1000 antioxidants.

In addition to its nutritional content, broccoli is also known for its cancer-fighting properties. Studies have shown that the sulforphane contained in broccoli may be able to help prevent or slow down the growth of certain types of cancers. Furthermore, the antioxidants and phytonutrients present in the broccoli may be able to help reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar levels. For these reasons, many health practitioners are now suggesting that consuming at least one cup of broccoli a day can be an effective way to help promote overall health.


If you happen to have more broccoli than you need or if you want to store it for a later time, there are ways to do this successfully. To begin, you should separate the florets from the stalks. Once this is done, the florets should be washed under cold, running water and dried. Once they are dry, you can wrap them up in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. This should be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. It is also important to note that broccoli is best when it is cooked soon after it is cut.

Cooking Broccoli

When it comes to cooking broccoli, there are a variety of options. You can steam it, roast it, sauté it, or even eat it raw if you like. Some of the most popular recipes entail combining broccoli with garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, or even adding it to a stir-fry. The possibilities are endless. Just be sure not to overcook your broccoli, as this can quickly destroy some of its nutritional value.

When it comes down to it, there is no doubt that broccoli is an incredibly nutritious and flavorful food. Its absence from the dirty dozen should be comforting to those concerned with their exposure to pesticide residue, while still allowing us to take advantage of its many health benefits. As more nutritional information is becoming available, the consumption of broccoli is likely to become even more widespread, especially among those who are looking to maximize their nutritional intake.

Competition From Other Plants

At the same time, as more consumer awareness is growing regarding the benefits of other plants in comparison to broccoli, that too can have effects on the consumption of broccoli. A prime example of this is kale. Kale’s nutritional value is very similar to that of broccoli, and it appears on the Dirty Dozen list. As such, it is becoming increasingly popular due to its attractiveness as an organic food choice. Nonetheless, the fact that it has become so strongly fashionable has caused some to forget about the multitude of nutritional benefits that broccoli has to offer.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that broccoli is not on the Dirty Dozen list and should not be overlooked just because of the competition from other foods. Despite the presence of other healthier alternatives, it is still one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables in our diet and offers a wide range of health benefits. So go ahead and enjoy your broccoli without fear!

Anna Perry

Anna T. Perry is a health and wellness writer who specializes in nutrition and vegetable-based diets. She is passionate about helping people make informed decisions about their health by providing comprehensive, research-based information. In her free time, Anna enjoys cooking delicious vegetable-based meals.

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