Everybody knows that broccoli florets are a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients, but what about the stalks underneath? They are rarely served up in a restaurant and most of us cut them off before cooking the florets. Is there a reason for this or is it just an old habit which has been passed down through the generations?
Are broccoli stalks edible?
There is nothing in the stalks of broccoli which will cause you any harm if you eat them. The florets are well-known for their healthiness and they are simply a natural extension of the stalk. The forest canopy of the floret might make it seem visually nicer to eat and will provide a different texture to the stalk, but you can safely and healthily eat both these parts of broccoli.
Why do we keep the stalk on the florets?
Typically when you buy broccoli from the market or store, you will buy both the floret and the stalks. The roots will have been removed, but you will get most of the actual vegetable to cook with or eat. The stalks are left on to keep the florets fresher for longer. You can buy bags of broccoli florets but these have a much shorter lifespan and will turn limp and slimy very quickly.
What can you make with the stalks?
Broccoli stalks can be cooked in the same way as the florets. They cook well when they are steamed, boiled or even fried, although frying them will negate most of the health benefits from eating them. If you would like something new with the stalks, there are plenty of options available for you to try.
Broccoli slaw is a great alternative to a normal coleslaw. The recipe uses the raw stalk, thinly sliced and mixed in with other vegetables such as carrots and cabbage.
Cutting the stalk into thin layers and cooking them on a griddle pan creates a really nice addition to any salad dish.
The stalk is really good for us
One of the best things about eating the broccoli stalk is that it is just as healthy as the florets. A good rule of thumb for vegetables is that the darker they are; the healthier they are for you but broccoli breaks this rule. The florets have the same nutritional benefits as the stalk. They are both high in calcium, Vitamin A, magnesium, iron and potassium. By using both parts of broccoli in a salad, not only are you getting all the health benefits, but the two different textures will complement each other.
It might just be down to generations of cutting off the stalks that has caused us to think that we cannot eat them. However, broccoli stalks should be thought of in the same way as the florets. They are really healthy additions to any dinner plate and could make a welcome surprise to guests who haven't tried it before.