You know how whenever you buy a package of broccoli, it comes with the florets on top (which you know how to use) and the long, thick stems (which are a bit of a mystery when it comes to serving ideas)? I always used to just chop the tops off and throw the stems away like they were a waste product, like the end of a carrot or something. If you’re in that place, read on for ways to use the healthy broccoli stems (other than compost)!!
Added Bonus: You’re reclaiming something you’d throw away and making it part of a meal. Hard to get more frugal and environmentally sound than that!
How to Cut the Broccoli Stem
I learned this from a magazine, Cook’s Illustrated possibly. The problem with using the broccoli stems is that they are so much denser and tougher than the florets, so they generally don’t cook evenly in the same steamer pot. Here’s your solution:
1. Cut off the very end of the stem.
2. Trim down the sides to “peel” the toughest outer skin off, with all those weird stumps. I usually make four flat sides.
3. You should now have what looks like a rectangular rod of broccoli. Mmmm, that’s appealing to the senses…
4. Cut lengthwise into four equal sticks, about 1 cm. or less across.
5. Chop sticks (they should stay stacked fairly well for you) into cubes.
6. These are just the right size to steam evenly with your larger florets.
Ta Da! You’ve successfully saved a broccoli stem from the garbage or compost. Now what do you do with the cubes? (Thanks to my mother-in-law for snapping these photos tonight for me!)
How to USE and SERVE the Broccoli Stems
First, once they’re cut in little cubes, you can just steam them with the florets and serve to your family if they’ll go for that kind of thing. It reminds me of a bag of frozen broccoli, actually. In a mixed vegetable medley with a little seasoning, you can often pass off broccoli stems as something people want to eat. 😉
Other than that, there are lots of cooked vegetable main course dishes you can put the stems into. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Cream of potato soup (updated recipe!)
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Turkey Chili
Stir Fry(Link no longer available) (My mom used to slice the stems very thinly for stir fry…I don’t know if she peeled them first or not, but I bet she can leave instructions in the comments!) 🙂 (Link no longer available)
Creamed Chicken(Link no longer available) (keep them small for this one!)
- Veggie Bean Burritoes
Sometimes I can’t serve these dishes enough to use up all my stems. Sometimes you just have to donate to the compost and allow yourself to not feel guilty about it. Just do your best! This is what works for me and is oh, so frugal!
Check out the Mind the Microwave initiative here.
Other Super Food Health Benefits:
Other Interesting Posts: