How to Wash Broccoli

Few produce have a longer season than one of our hardy old stand-bys: broccoli. Available in peak form from October to April – when many other items can’t take the cold temperatures – you’ll find fresh broccoli in your supermarket all year round.

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is low in calories but packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid and manganese, and provides a surprising amount of protein for a vegetable (2 grams per 1 cup), according to the USDA’s FoodData Central. nutrition database. It is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family and as such shares many characteristics with cauliflower. Both the stems and the flowers are edible.

Broccoli is usually found in its deep green glory alongside cauliflower in the produce section. If you’re lucky, you might also spot purple broccoli or romanesco; The latter is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower and is one of our favorite veggies for amazing sheet metal dishes.

Once you’ve achieved a broccoli head, it’s important to master how to wash broccoli. Like all fresh fruits and vegetables, broccoli can end up in your kitchen containing some contaminants, pests, or pesticides. Broccoli ranks about halfway among pesticides on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) product list, falling to number 22; not part of the “dirty dozen”. Broccoli, like its cousin cabbage, gives off a plant compound called glucosinolates that naturally help repel insects. Even so, it may have been sprayed with pesticides and has almost certainly been touched by other shoppers or grocery store employees, so it’s important to clean broccoli before using it. Find out the best time in the cooking process to wash broccoli so it lasts and discover the top three ways to wash broccoli. We also discuss how to store broccoli to maximize its lifespan.

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How to clean broccoli in three ways

Before proceeding with any of these methods of washing broccoli, it is worth considering the ideal time to do so. The USDA recommends washing products just before use to slow spoilage. If you need to rinse your broccoli a day or more in advance, be sure to spin it through the salad spinner or dry it thoroughly with a clean towel before storing it in your fridge. (For more broccoli storage tips, check out our guide to washing broccoli.)

Once you have your full head of broccoli in your kitchen, pack a cutting board, paring knife, and chef’s knife. Snip off about an inch from the bottom of the stem and discard that part as it may be dry. Use a paring knife to remove leaves or tough skin from the stems if desired, then use the chef’s knife to cut and separate the head from the stems. Cut the stalks into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces or whatever your recipe calls for, then cut the head of the broccoli into individual florets.

How to wash broccoli under running water

The fastest and easiest way to wash broccoli? Rinse it out! Transfer the cut stalks and florets to a regular round colander or a handy colander over the sink and place the vegetables under running water; cold or warm – just not scorching hot. Gently rustle the pieces around with your hands to make sure they all have access to the water, or lift them up to hold them directly under the flow of water to check for dirt, bugs, or less-fresh pieces. Once each piece has been rinsed, you can proceed with your broccoli recipe.

How to clean broccoli by soaking it

The USDA’s preferred method for washing broccoli or other hard-to-clean vegetables: Soak well. Fill a large bowl with cold or warm water. Leave to soak for 2 minutes, then place the vegetables in a colander and drain the soaking water. While the broccoli is still in the colander, rinse it thoroughly under running water again.

How to wash broccoli in a vinegar solution

If you think your broccoli might have bugs or worms, use the soaking method with an extra ingredient. No, not these commercial detergents; in fact, the USDA does not recommend using these. Instead, use a pantry staple: vinegar.

Fill a large bowl with 2 ⅔ cups cold or warm water and ⅓ cup white vinegar. Let soak for 2 minutes, then place the broccoli in a colander. Rinse the vinegar-treated broccoli very well under running water.

How to buy and store broccoli

Fresh heads of broccoli should feel firm and look dark green (or purple). Store fresh heads of broccoli, ideally unrinsed, in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Once the florets start turning yellow or brown, their flavor is affected, so try to use them in their full glory. Compost or discard broccoli if it looks slimy or smells bad.

To extend its shelf life, blanch broccoli in boiling water for 3 minutes, rinse with cold water or immerse in an ice bath, then drain and dry well. Transfer to a freezer safe bag or airtight container and freeze for at least 6 months. When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen broccoli, use it straight from the freezer in recipes like stir-fries, soups, stews, or pasta dishes, or let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.

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