Everything You Need to Know About Preparing and Storing Broccoli
Plus, 3 new recipes
Food Editor at Kitchen Stories
Broccoli was never really my favorite vegetable. As a side dish to potatoes and fried eggs, it usually tasted a bit bland and looked funny. Its place on my plate is mostly due to its nutritional value than its taste. What can I say, I was a fool, because now I know: Broccoli can be so much more.
Broccoli is a real superfood. With its many nutrients, it acts as a supplier of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and thus supports your immune system in a natural way. And right now, each and every one of us can probably use a strengthened immune system. That's why today we're going to show you tips and tricks about the green cabbage and 5 delicious recipes to easily and tastefully integrate broccoli into your daily diet.
1. When, where, and how to buy broccoli
Broccoli, also called winter cauliflower, is a vegetable plant from the cruciferous family. In Germany broccoli is available all year round. However, the main season is between May and November, where it grows outdoors around the country and you can find fresh and regional broccoli at many markets. The rest of the year broccoli is imported mainly from western Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy.
Broccoli is a particularly rich source of vitamin C and contains important minerals, fiber, and folic acid. In addition, it is low in calories compared to other vegetables.
2. Storing broccoli: the key is temperature
Broccoli is best stored in a dark and cool place. Simply wrap broccoli in a slightly damp kitchen towel and store it in the fridge. This keeps the broccoli fresh for at least 3 days. Stored at room temperature, it quickly loses its vitamin C content—up to 10 percent per day—and becomes mushy and tasteless.
3. How to clean and cut broccoli properly
Although broccoli from your standard grocery store is usually harvested from indoor farming, meaning it's already quite clean, you should still give it a quick brush. So before eating, simply rinse it thoroughly under cold water and then shake it dry.
After rinsing, the next step is to cut the broccoli properly. To do so, grab it by the stalk and carefully cut off the small florets with a knife, roughly the same size, so that they'll cook more evenly.
The stalk of broccoli often ends up carelessly in the garbage, but it also contains a lot of flavors. Just make sure to remove the wooden end of the stalk, along with any leaves or hard parts, before cutting the stalk into bite-sized pieces.
4. All the ways to enjoy in-season broccoli
The preparation of broccoli is as varied as the cabbage itself. Broccoli can be enjoyed blanched, cooked, stir-fried or baked in the oven. So if you remember broccoli only as a cooked side dish from your childhood, let me tell you: Broccoli can even be consumed raw. Just cut it into bite-sized pieces and add it to your next salad. With its mild, slightly tart aroma and crunchy texture, it goes perfectly with a sour-sweet lemon vinaigrette. Broccoli also shows its full potential with chicken stir-fried in the wok, puréed into a cream of broccoli soup or baked in the oven as a delicious salmon and broccoli casserole. Broccoli especially goes great with flavors like sea salt, nutmeg, garlic, and roasted pine nuts.
Depending on how you prepare broccoli, the cooking time can vary greatly. In the frying pan, broccoli needs about 1 - 3 min. If blanching, it'll also only take a few minutes. Steaming requires a bit more time, around 5 - 7 min. Blanching and steaming will help the broccoli to retain more of its nutrients, such as vitamin C.
5. Can I freeze broccoli?
To make broccoli last longer, you can of course freeze it. Before freezing, you should first blanch the broccoli in boiling water. Then drain the florets well and let them cool down completely. Pour the broccoli into a freezer bag and put it in the freezer, where it can be stored for at least 8 months.
6. What to make next
All week long, we'll be featuring new broccoli recipes on Kitchen Stories. Check back to see what's new, then try one for yourself! Here's where to start:
Published on May 3, 2020