Rapini Facts

Rapini Facts
Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, is leafy vegetables that belongs to the cabbage family. Exact origin of this plant is unknown (either China or Mediterranean region), but it can be found around the world today. Rapini was probably created through hybridization of various types of turnip in the past. It grows in areas with cool climate, on fertile, loamy or clayey, well-drained soil, exposed to the full sun. Rapini is part of human diet in Europe and Asia for centuries and it still represents valuable source of vitamins and minerals during the winter.
Interesting Rapini Facts:
Rapini can reach 8 to 36 inches in height, depending on the variety.
Rapini produces spiked leaves that surround clusters of broccoli-like buds (they are not organized in head typical for broccoli) when the plant is young.
Rapini has vibrant green leaves that look like leaves of turnip with thick, broccoli-like stalks. Leaves can be pointed, divided or deeply serrated on the edges, depending on the variety.
Rapini is usually harvested before the flowering season to prevent unwanted changes in the taste of leaves (they start to accumulate bitter compounds during the flowering season).
Rapini produces small, yellow flowers arranged in showy clusters that can be seen among the buds. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers) and attract bees, that are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of rapini is slender capsule filled with seed.
Rapini propagates via seeds.
Rapini is cool-season vegetable. Sowing of rapini takes place during the autumn or at the beginning of the spring. Leaves are ready for the harvest usually 50 to 120 days later.
Even though rapini is available all year round, leaves of best quality can be found from autumn to spring in the Northern hemisphere.
Rapini is rich source of vitamins C, A, K and B9 and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Leaves, buds, flowers and stem of rapini are edible. Leaves have bitter-sweet, slightly nutty and pungent taste. They are usually cooked before consumption and used as ingredient of soups, pasta, sauces, omelets, quiches and dishes made of pork.
Rapini is inevitable part of Italian, Portuguese and Chinese cuisine.
Rapini improves function of cardiovascular system, eyes and bones. It can prevent development of atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer. Rapini is also used to boost immune system, normalize blood sugar level, slow down aging process and prevent dementia.
Rapini contains substance, called indole-3-carbonol, which prevents cell damage induced by free radicals and shows positive results in treatment of yeast infections in humans. It also regulates hormonal status in both men and women.
Rapini completes its life in two years (biennial plant), but it is usually harvested during the first year.

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