How To Maximize Broccoli Nutrition & Reduce Broccoli Stem Waste
We all know that broccoli is good for us. Broccoli is rich in a wide range of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. But it is broccoli’s high levels of a beneficial compound called sulforaphane that have been making headlines. Studies have suggested that this compound can help control blood sugar, and may even help fight cancer.
How To Maximize Broccoli Nutrition
The myth is that one of the healthiest ways to eat broccoli is simply to chow down on the raw florets. For example, in a salad, enlivened with other delicious, fresh ingredients. But is it right? How can you best prepare and cook it to maximize its nutritional benefits? In order to understand the answer, it is important to understand the following:
Sulforaphane is not present in broccoli all the time. The broccoli must be damaged to release this compound. Damage initiates broccoli’s ‘defence mechanism’ – turning glucosinolates present in the plant into sulforaphane through myrosinase activity. But common cooking methods like boiling or microwaving significantly reduce the quantity of sulforaphane in broccoli, and myrosinase is also very heat-sensitive.
Scientists in China have come up with the answer. They have developed the best method for preparing and cooking broccoli. This method retains sulforaphane and allows you to retain its health benefits:
- Pulverise/ chop the broccoli as much as possible. (Damaging it and initiating the ‘defence mechanism’ which creates sulforaphane.)
- Leave the pieces for 90 minutes (or at least 30). (This gives time for the compound to be created in higher levels.)
- Stir fry the tiny broccoli pieces for around 4 minutes.
Eating broccoli is always good for you. But preparing and cooking it in this way will maximize its health benefits.
How To Use Leftover Broccoli Stems & Reduce Food Waste
In the above method, both the green florets and the stems can be used. But many people tend to choose to eat just the florets in many recipes. So what should you do with the stems? How can you avoid throwing the stems away and reduce food waste? Here are some suggestions:
- Blend the stems into a healthy soup or stew.
- Use them in making a vegetable stock along with other vegetable scraps.
- Blitz broccoli stems and other ingredients for a green smoothie.
- Create a healthy DIY baby food.
- Make a broccoli pesto.
- Peel stems and slice them lengthwise to serve as crudités.
- Slice and bake them to make broccoli chips.
- Grill chunks of broccoli stem on a barbecue.
- Grate them and use them in a home-made coleslaw.
- Make a delicious stir fry or warm salad.
- Use them to make pickles, piccalilli or other preserves.
- Use them in a broccoli curry or another spicy, flavorsome recipe.
Whatever you choose to do with your broccoli, and however you decide to cook it, make sure you make the most of all the nutrients, and minimize what you throw away.