I love broccoli. It’s one of my favorite veggies. And one of my favorite ways to cook broccoli is this Simple Steamed Broccoli. Simple Steamed Broccoli is like the workhorse. every day broccoli and it’s a good one to know.
When broccoli isn’t done right, it can be kind of awful. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and when overcooked can be mushy, even a little stinky. Cruciferous vegetables are known for producing a sulfur like odor when overcooked and some people, especially children pick that up more than others. At my house, overcooked broccoli was more likely to be pushed around the plate and end up in the garbage than eaten.
About Simple Steamed Broccoli:
Simple Steamed Broccoli is a method that’s going to treat your broccoli right. The florets are beautiful and the stems cooked just right, too. The stems, which some people never eat, especially if they’re buying frozen florets, might just become your favorite part! And you can use your broccoli from top to bottom with pretty much no waste. A plus for this steaming method is you don’t even need a steamer basket. Just a pan, a lid, and some water.
There are a lot of health benefits from eating broccoli and a lot more from steaming it. I love the website, the World’s Healthiest Foods and check it often, especially when I’m writing a post. See, you guys are keeping me healthier! WHF has a lot of nice things to say about Broccoli and about cruciferous vegetables in general.
Making Simple Steamed Broccoli:
To prep your broccoli, which takes like a minute, first, with a vegetable peeler, shave off the hard outer stem. Trust me on this – the stalks will be better than the florets! Then thinly slice up the stem, discarding the very bottom piece, at an angle, about 3/8ths of an inch thick. Set these slices aside and don’t mix them in with the florets.
Now you’re up to the head. With the point of your knife, go in and run your knife through the florets where they join together – don’t cut through the florets themselves. If you florets have long bits of stem attached, slice through that just like you did the original stem and add it to your stems.
Now put your stalk pieces in a pan, cover them with water and bring to a simmer. Then add the florets, cover the pan and steam until desired tenderness is reached. Easy, peasy! Just FYI, the World’s Healthiest Foods recommends not steaming for over four minutes.
Saving Money on Simple Steamed Broccoli:
Did you know that it’s a myth that all frozen vegetables are cheaper than fresh? While this may be true in some cases, and at some times of the year, it isn’t always true. Unless you’re getting your frozen broccoli dirt cheap with a coupon, fresh beats frozen in price every time. And that holds true for a lot of vegetables, especially when they are in season. If you can get in the habit of eating seasonal veggies you’ll save a considerable amount of money over the years.
Another thing about frozen broccoli is that it isn’t just broccoli. It’s processed with steam and broccoli is like a sponge and absorbs water. Put a one pound package of frozen broccoli in the microwave for the recommended cooking time with no additional liquid and you’ll up with 6 ounces of water and 10 ounces of broccoli. And that 10 ounces of broccoli will be overcooked, which negates some of the health value.
When I put my broccoli or any vegetable in the fridge, I don’t wash it (which adds moisture) or prep it ahead (which can cause the vegetable to lose some of its nutrients.) I do open the drawer after the broccoli or another veggie has chilled and turn the bag inside out so my vegetable isn’t sitting in condensation. Then I remove as much air from the bag as possible. Leftover broccoli can be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen. If you make soup, freeze your leftover veggies by type or in a way that makes sense, and keep adding to the bag until there is enough for soup.
And of course, I don’t waste those stem peelings from the broccoli. They go right into my morning green smoothies, my Big, Fat, Green Smoothies on a Budget.
Simple Steamed Broccoli
- 1 bunch of broccoli
- salt to taste
- butter, if desired
Prepare broccoli by shaving out the outer edges of the stalk. Cut stalk on diagonal into pieces about 3/8ths of an inch thick, discarding the very bottom slice of stem if it is hardened and dry. Keep stems separate from the florets.
Separate florets, not by cutting through them, but by inserting the point of the knife into the inner structure of the floret where the stalks break into little stems. Slice those apart and the floret will naturally separate and lose very little of the floret pieces. Try to keep florets about the same size and if there is any long stem attached to the florets, slice them 3/8ths of an inch thick and add to the stem pile.
Place stems in the bottom of a saucepan, cover with water. Turn heat onto medium high and when bubbles begin to break through, add the florets on top. Salt if desired. Cover, and simmer four to eight minutes, to desired tenderness. Remove lid and drain. Shock in cold water, if you wish, to stop the cooking process and preserve bright color. Add back to warm saucepan, place a pat of butter on top. Cover to keep warm until serving. When ready to serve, lightly toss to distribute butter.