Have you ever seen a post on Reddit, Twitter, or Tiktok that insinuates that you haven’t been doing or using a specific thing correctly? This might be one of them, only that we are doing it with more words.
Yes, you’ve been eating broccoli for years, but how sure are you that you have been eating it correctly? You know, eating the right parts of the vegetable?
Many people do not know what parts of broccoli to eat or how to eat them correctly, but we’re here to change that with this brief read.
What part of broccoli do we eat?
Many prefer to eat the dark green forest-looking part of the broccoli called the florets. We aren’t saying that they’re wrong for doing that; it’s just that there are other parts of broccoli you can eat asides from the florets.
For details, we will list out all the parts of broccoli you can eat, including florets.
- Broccoli Florets
Do you know those parts of broccoli looking like little trees or a miniature forest? Those are called florets. Florets are often the most commonly eaten part of the broccoli. Florets are usually connected to a stem/stalk.
The flavour of broccoli florets is often described as earthy, sometimes unappealing.
- Broccoli stem/stalk
Broccoli stems or stalks are the pale green parts of the broccoli connected to the florets. The shorter stems are directly connected to the florets, while the thicker stem is connected to the shorter stems.
Broccoli stems have the same robust flavour that broccoli florets have.
- Broccoli leaves
Broccoli leaves are the underdogs of broccoli parts.
If you always buy broccoli from the grocery store or farmers’ markets, it may never have crossed your mind that broccoli has leaves.
This may not be an unfamiliar concept if you grow broccoli at home.
Broccoli leaves are the most nutritious part of broccoli you can eat; read on to find more.
Can you eat the whole broccoli?
Yes, you can eat the whole life of broccoli because every part of broccoli is safe to eat. Besides, broccoli has abundant nutritional benefits, so eating every part might not be a bad idea. Here are some nutritional gains broccoli offers.
- Broccoli is rich in protein, fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Broccoli contains an antioxidant, sulforaphane, that helps decrease blood sugar and cholesterol and wards off chronic diseases like cancer.
- Two antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin, contained in broccoli, help prevent cell damage in the eyes and oxidative stress.
Should you eat broccoli stems?
Yes, you can eat broccoli stems.
Broccoli stems are one part of broccoli that people often avoid, but broccoli stems are the most fibre-rich part of the broccoli vegetable. So, if you need more fibre in your diet, you know what part of broccoli to eat more.
Broccoli stems are delicious when cooked well. They have a subtly sweet flavour and a texture that lets them easily absorb flavours from ingredients and seasonings.
If you’re unsure whether you should eat broccoli stems, we advise you to make some and try it. Fortunately, you can stir-fry them, pan-fry, or roast them in the oven.
Can you eat raw broccoli?
It is safe to eat broccoli raw. Ensure they are appropriately washed; you should have nothing to worry about.
Raw broccoli offers you nutrients in its purest and most potent form.
Raw broccoli is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B9, Vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre, protein, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, and potassium.
Raw broccoli contains antioxidants like sulforaphane, lutein, and zeaxanthin that help with blood sugar, cholesterol, cancer, oxidative stress, and eye cell damage.
When you cook broccoli, the sulforaphane and vitamin C content reduces. However, when you steam-cook broccoli, sulforaphane production increases. So, steaming might be the best way to cook broccoli.
Also, note that eating raw broccoli may be harmful if you’re allergic to broccoli, on blood thinners (because of the vitamin K contained in it), or have irritable bowel syndrome. Raw broccoli is known for causing stomach discomfort (bloating, gas), especially in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, if you have thyroid problems, you shouldn’t overeat broccoli because broccoli might intrude on the process of iodine absorption, which is needed for producing thyroid hormones.
Can you eat broccoli stems and leaves?
Although they are often the neglected parts of broccoli, broccoli’s unsung heroes, stems, and leaves are safe to eat.
Can you eat a whole head of broccoli?
Why not? You could eat a whole head of broccoli if you want to. However, overeating broccoli is bad for you. Moderation is key.
Is broccoli a flower or a stem?
Broccoli isn’t a flower or a stem. Instead, broccoli is made up of a flower and a stem.
Broccoli has three parts; the florets, the stem, and the leaves.
Broccoli florets are considered the flowers or the head, while the stem links all the florets together. The florets grow into tiny green flowers if broccoli isn’t harvested and left to mature.
So, broccoli is neither a flower nor a stem but a combination of immature flowers and stems.
Are broccoli leaves toxic?
Broccoli leaves are not toxic or harmful. Broccoli leaves are one of the parts of broccoli you can eat, along with the crown and stem/stalks.
Nevertheless, broccoli seeds and roots are toxic parts of broccoli and should be avoided.
Since we mostly come across the broccoli plant, not the seeds and not its roots, this should not be a concern.
Which part of broccoli is the healthiest?
It hasn’t been established what part of broccoli is the healthiest. However, many speculate that broccoli florets are the healthier part of the broccoli.
Nonetheless, broccoli in its entirety is a rich vegetable, and choosing one part of the vegetable to eat is counterproductive because you can eat all the parts and get the premium benefits?
What is the difference between broccoli crowns and florets?
Broccoli crowns are the dark green forest-like part of broccoli, while broccoli florets are the individual immature flowers that make up the broccoli crown.
To be more practical, think of it this way; broccoli crowns are forests, and broccoli florets are the trees that make up the forest.
Benefits of eating broccoli
There are several health benefits of eating broccoli. We mentioned some above, but we’ll explain in more detail.
- Broccoli helps reduce cholesterol
Broccoli contains soluble fibre that binds itself to bile in your digestive tract. This process makes the excretion of cholesterol easier.
- Broccoli can aid cancer prevention
Broccoli has immune strengthening and cancer prevention abilities.
Sulforaphane, an antioxidant in broccoli, is known to deplete carcinogens that can potentially cause cancer. In addition, sulforaphane has been linked to colon, breast, oral, and prostate cancer prevention.
- Strong antioxidant properties
Apart from sulforaphanes, broccoli is packed with other potent antioxidants like:
• Vitamin C – Great for improving immunity.
• Lutein and zeaxanthin – Helps reduce oxidative stress and cell damage in the eyes.
• Beta-carotene – Beta-carotene improves skin, eye health, cognitive function, and lung function.
- Broccoli helps with dieting and weight loss
Broccoli is a high fibre, protein, and low carb/calorie vegetable, making it a perfect addition to a weight loss diet.
- Aids heart health
Sulforaphane helps promote low blood sugar by reversing and preventing damage to blood vessels.
Additionally, the vitamins in broccoli (mentioned earlier) help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.
These are a few of the numerous benefits that broccoli is known for. There are other benefits like:
- Improved bone health.
- Improved skin.
- Anti-ageing properties.
- Unique detox properties.
How to prepare broccoli
You can prepare broccoli in several ways: steam, boil, stir-fry, pan-fry, or roast broccoli. However, because steaming is the healthiest way to prepare broccoli, we’ll outline how to steam broccoli in this step-by-step guide.
You can steam broccoli on the stove or microwave. We’ll show you how, but first, you must prep the vegetable.
- Cut the broccoli stem to a point where the crown breaks up into pieces of florets.
- Slice the trunk of each flower to produce smaller pieces, place them in a bowl, and run them under clean water to wash them.
- Cut off tiny leaves or smudges and peel the tough layer of the stem with a peeler.
- Cut off the bottom of the stem, slice it into bite-sized disks, place them in a separate bowl, and wash them.
How to steam broccoli on the stove
- A pot
- A steamer basket
- 1 head of broccoli
- Put some water in a pot and place a steamer basket (ensure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the basket).
- Set your stove to medium heat, place the broccoli florets and stems in the steamer basket, and then steam for about four or five minutes.
How to steam broccoli in the microwave
- A microwave-safe dish with a matching cover
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 1 head of broccoli
- Put the broccoli florets and stems in the microwave-safe dish and add the water to the microwave-friendly dish.
- Cover the dish and steam in the microwave on high heat for about three or four minutes.
You should also note that broccoli pairs well with warm salads, casseroles, soups, frittatas, butter, lemon stews, hollandaise sauce, and pasta-based dishes.