Cooking Stems of Broccoli and Hearts of Cabbage

When you are cooking broccoli, trim and peel if necessary the broccoli stems, then cut them, and add them to your boiling water. Allow them to cook until they are almost fork tender before adding the florets. They will be done at the same time and you have wasted no part of your good vegetable.

When you're cooking cabbage, be sure to cut out the heart of the cabbage first, then slice it thin and cook it for a few minutes prior to adding the tender cut leaves. I do not like to waste some of the best parts of good foods and at the prices we're paying for these foods, we can't afford to waste any part of them.


Source: Frugal habits learned from my smart mother.

By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

June 15, 20110 found this helpful

Another one of your great tips. : ) Thanks once again for sharing.

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June 15, 20110 found this helpful

Just wondering, how does the taste of the broccoli stalk compare with the florets?

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June 15, 20110 found this helpful

Broccoli and cabbage parts mentioned once trimmed are delicious cut into sticks or pieces and eaten raw or in salads.

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June 15, 20110 found this helpful

Thank you all for feedback.

Keeper, you are so easy to please. My kind of people to cook for. :-)

DreamWvr, the flavor of broccoli stems or stalks are very much the same as the florets, just a different texture. If the stems seem to be tough, just peel and trim them, then cut into pieces about the same thickness as the ends of the florets.

Muttmom, you are so right. I like most vegetables raw, and actually prefer some of them raw to being cooked at all. Others I can eat either way and enjoy them. I believe many are better for us healthwise when left raw or just steamed a little. Green beans is the one thing I tend to cook to death as the flavor only improves in my opinion. Not everyone agrees with me about that. If they are very young and tender, I can eat and enjoy them raw in salads, but I don't often find them "young and tender" in the markets.

Even corn is very good raw if it's very young. Might give you the tummy ache if you eat too much of it. Thanks again everyone.


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June 15, 20110 found this helpful

I sure do agree about not wasting any part of our produce foods that we can render edible in some way. I never thought about using the stalks of broccoli or the hearts of cabbage in this way. I'm going to have to try it as I do not like throwing out such a large portion of either one. We are just much too wasteful here in the US, and we need to learn how to stop it.

Thank you.


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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

That's a good idea. However, I also save all the cores and outer leaves of vegetables, leftover gravy, and process them for soup, so that nothing is wasted. My magpie family sometimes have very slim pickings. Regards Jean, Maffra, Gippsland, Australia.

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

Good Day to Jean in Australia. It's always a real thrill to get feedback or postings from you folks "down under". Thank you for the added bit of advice on ways to use up tidbits of food that is perfectly good and adds so much to our meals when you know what to do with them.

Thank you again for the lovely feedback. Hope to be hearing more from you anytime.

Pookarina / Julia

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

I just saute/steam broccoli, stems and all. If the stems are tough, just peel them down to the tender part and cut them about the same size as the florets. It all tastes the same. My mother used to take the 'core' out of the cabbage for us kids to eat raw. She trimmed it up good to get the strong part of the leaves off it. I now saute/fry chopped cabbage, core and all. It all tastes the same too.

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

Doria, your cooked cabbage surely does look good.

When my husband first had his upper teeth all extracted, it took a good while for him to eat foods that had a lot of texture, and since we'd always eaten stems of broccoli and hearts of cabbage which if cooked all at the same time, the broccoli stems and cabbage hearts were a little tough for him. I had to find a way to compensate for that, so came up with adjusting cooking times for the stems, and hearts so that he could enjoy all his veggies.

Later I found that the stems not being cooked done enough was half the cause of others not eating them, so I started sharing my tip of the difference in cooking time for them, and got great reviews from the people who tried it.

If there was a will to do something, my Mother would find a way, and when I come across a hurdle about food, I Just stop and think, "What would Mother do about this?" It works every time.

Thank you for sharing your feedback and that great yummy-looking photo

with us.


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June 17, 20110 found this helpful

You're taking about 2 of my family's favorite vegetables, and you are right about the difference in cooking times for stems/stalks/florets of broccoli, and I'm sure the same applies to cabbage hearts, however I have always treated cabbage hearts as "cook's treat". That part is mine and I enjoy it while standing over the stove. Ha-Ha.

Great idea though.


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June 18, 20110 found this helpful

I always use every bit of broccoli & cabbage, I love the cabage core. I was amazed to find out most people don't & even more amazed that they thought it was crazy that I did! What a waste, you get twice as much if you use it all! Broccoli was always one of my most favorite vegetables. Unfortunately I haven't been able to eat it for over 20 years now & I still miss it! But I cook it for my family - sometimes. My kids all seemed to prefer their "trees" raw with ranch!

I never thought to add the stem pieces to the pot early, I just cut the stalks in half, then cut the halves into small pieces & throw it all in the pot together. It all seems to come out fine to us,except the occasional really big & tough stalks, which I do peel first.

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June 19, 20110 found this helpful

You might just have given me the information that I need to get my kids to eat all the broccoli. We don't eat a lot of cabbage although we should, but we make up for it by eating broccoli about 3 times a week. I love buying the fresh too, so I'm going to be trying this so they'll eat the stems and all.

Thank you ever so much.


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June 19, 20110 found this helpful

This is a good tip to remember. I've overcooked the florets many times in order to cook the stems enough to suit my children. They object to the difference in textures, more so when they were real young than they do now, but I'll remember this for when we have denture problems.

Thanks for sharing another good tip Pookarina.


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June 20, 20110 found this helpful

This is the way we always cook broccoli when we're making cream of broccoli soup too. It's all done at the same time perfectly and makes it so smooth and delicious with a little butter and half and half, salt and pepper.


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April 2, 20140 found this helpful

Here's another way to utilize broccoli stems. I love to make stir-fry chicken and broccoli. Just use your favorite recipe, or improvise. I like water chestnuts in mine. When I cut my broccoli florets off, I process the stems: I pick off any leaves, add them to the stir-fry. I then peel off the outer layer of the stems. Then, I slice them about 1/8 inch thick, and drop them in the stir-fry. When everything is done, they are still crunchy, but not as crunchy as the water chestnuts. Everyone loves it, and nobody knows they are broccoli stems unless they ask!

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