Technique Tip: Broccoli Trimmed Aggressively

[Many thanks to Sven Geier for his artistry, a broccoli fractal.]

Today A Veggie Venture enters its eighth month of cooking vegetables in a new way, every single day. It's time to take stock. (Note to Self: Try a vegetable stock soon.)

If there's one reason why A Veggie Venture continues, it's this: I keep learning. But one lesson stands out, one that's changed supper forever.

It's how to trim broccoli. "Trim broccoli? Who needs that lesson?" (Yes! I hear you thinking!)

But thanks to this fast and reliable technique, broccoli tastes better and so it gets cooked more often. (And we all know it's good for us ...) Testament to this is that:
  • In the first 22 weeks, fresh broccoli recipes were featured here exactly 6 times -- that's about once every 26 days
  • In the seven weeks since first using the trimming technique, fresh broccoli has appeared here another 6 times --that's every 8 days! (And there's ones not even here, repeats too good to make just once.)
  • To see for yourself, see the now large collection of broccoli recipes.
Even the stems taste good -- they'll never go to waste again!

I learned the technique from StephenCooks to whom I'm grateful. Here, in Stephen's very own words, is the method that's not the least bit difficult to master:
"Cut the last 1/4" from the end of the stalks, use a paring knife to trim any gnarly stumps or little branches from the stalks and then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer skin from the stalks, starting at the base of the flower and going to the end of the stalks. Some larger stalks have a fairly thick skin and may need two passes of the can tell when you got it all when the inner flesh of the stalk is has a softer wet-green look, with no fibers visible and a consistency like a cut radish or potato.

Cut the broccoli into serving portions...I usually cut it crosswise into three pieces - the flower and two pieces of stalk about 2 1/2 - 3" long. Then divide the flowers from each other and halve or quarter the stalk pieces lengthwise. For uniform cooking, the flower stems should be about the same diameter as the quartered or halved stalk pieces.

I frequently cook a large amount of broccoli and then remove the portion needed for supper and cover it for a few minutes to steam further .... then I immediately shock the remaining broccoli in cold water to totally stop the cooking. This leaves the shocked broccoli slightly undercooked and ready to be reheated without being mushy for the next meal (microwave or quick steam) OR a nice crunchy addition to salads fully cooked broccoli is too soft. It keeps really well in the refrigerator."

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Ahh...the power of brocolli...! When Bush #I was president I used to serve it all the time and tell people, "...If you want a new president you have to eat your brocolli!" since GHWB famously said that since he was president he didn't have to eat brocolli if he didn't want to...and it worked! Unfortunately it didn't work with W...

    Anyway...I think I learned that technique from a Julia Child sunday supplement piece about Thanksgiving sides...I thought it sounded fussy and unnecessary but since it was Thanksgiving I did it...and I've done it ever since...I even SEEK OUT the thicker, heavier stems when I buy the stuff, since I like them so much...!

    I'm so glad I could contribute to the veggie venture!

  2. I read this before, but I am for sure going to try it this time. I have trimmed the stalks for a while now, but not this well, and not with a veggie peeler, which does seem like the perfect tool for it. That Stephen is quite a guy isn't he?

    I'm home sick today in case you're wondering why I'm not as school. Stomach flu, yuck. Yesterday I felt much worse, so hopefully I am almost better.

  3. I love broccoli, even without trimming it! Boiled, fried with chillies whatever I eat it!

  4. I treat it pretty much the same way, only I disagree about making a batch for later since it will always get grey-ish if you let it sit for more than a day.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna