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Making the Most of Broccoli

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Like many other vegetables, broccoli takes a variety of forms both as the large and tall, calabrese, and short and sweet, tenderstem. Within the UK, this popular brassica is wasted on an enormous scale every year, amounting to 41,000 tonnes or £219 million, according to research by Tesco. Cutting down on the waste of broccoli can thus have a cumulative impact on tackling climate change. Below are a few tips to minimise broccoli waste through its preservation and cooking.

Cooking is an activity that many people have gained a newfound interest in over the last year. With more time on our hands over lockdown, it means that we no longer need to rush in making 15-minute meals. Haste in cooking, however, leads to a wasteful mindset, where it becomes easy to overlook parts of the broccoli that are nutritious and edible, mainly the stem. I usually slice off the thick outer layer and use the tender inner section in cooking. High in vitamin C and sweet, the stem can be nicely chopped up and used in a stir fry, Thai green curry or pesto pasta. Unlike the florets, the broccoli stalk requires extra cooking but the nourishment it will add to your meal is well worth the wait.

Tenderstem broccoli is scrumptious in a stir fry, alongside mushrooms, peppers, carrots and garlic, with added chill flakes and turmeric.

A delicious vegetable bake is a great way to use up broccoli. The florets provide a pleasant textured contrast to the stem, which works well as a substitute for potatoes in the bake. Here I have combined the calabrese with mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower and coriander as well as home-made cream sauce and cheese.

Broccoli is a vegetable that is prone to yellowing. This discolouration indicates it has passed its best before date but it is often still safe to eat, tasting just as good when cooked. Storing broccoli to help it last for longer can prevent wasting it. Keeping broccoli in the vegetable drawer of a fridge or its packaging can encourage prolonged freshness. Finally, freezing broccoli in a freezer bag is another suitable alternative for preserving it.

We hope you enjoy trying out these tips and happy cooking!

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