The diligent Cafe Society reader has taken note, of course, of my thread this morning on the subject of cooking stuff in a slow cooker. As I write this, this a work in progress.
This leads to a tangential matter: In another two hours about, I’m going to prepare the vegetables to put in. The usual veggies are potato, carrots, celery, and a big turnip, all properly washed and scrubbed and cut into pieces.
But this time, I also bought a bag of fresh broccoli. I’m proposing to cut that into pieces too and throw it in, and see what that comes out like.
I cut the florets off, throw them in a colander, spray them with a fruit and veggie wash I make and then rinse. (I know it is wasteful to not use the stems). An easy version of this would be to put a few glugs of white vinegar in a bowl (or clean sink) of cold water, submerge the broccoli and then rinse.
ETA fruit and veggie wash:
1.5 c water
.5 c white vinegar
Juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp grapefruit seed extract
Get a big bowl or stockpot. Fill it with warm water. Hold the broccoli by the stem and submerge it upside down in the water. Swirl it around fast like you’re stirring the water with a spoon. The water will flow through the broccoli and get it clean.
But if you’ve already cut it up into pieces, just throw the pieces into the big bowl of water and stir them around vigorously. Then lift them out and put them into a colander to drain.
A couple of other notes:
The stem is the best part of the broccoli. The florets look pretty but they have no flavor. If stores would sell me just broccoli stems, that’s what I would buy.
Broccoli doesn’t work very well in a stew. It just gets mushy.
Okay, thanks for these tips. As it happens, by the time I’ve read these (just now), I’ve already dealt with the broccoli and other vegs – substantially the way Little Nemo said. (I used the florets and some of the stems.)
@Periwinkle it looks like your scheme is more to give the broccoli some additional flavor, rather than (or in addition to) just getting it clean. Maybe I’ll try all that another day. I guess this is useful if you’re going to eat the broccoli straight. But I’m throwing it all into a stew, so that might not be relevant (this time).
This is an experiment, to see how well broccoli goes in a stew. The plan (already in progress as I write this) is to partially cook all the vegs (cut-up carrots, celery, potatoes, and broccoli) separately and throw them into the stew about 30 minutes before it’s done. Last time I tried that (without broccoli) this got me vegs cooked just about how I like them – soft, not crunchy, but not at all mushy. Now I want to see how that plays with the broccoli.
I stopped buying broccoli because at every store I’ve shopped, I’ve found little grey bugs in it. And they don’t wash off. It’s impossible to get clean. And while I know it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve ingested bugs, I don’t want to out of my way to do it.
Some very elaborate veg washing going on round here. I just rinse it under a tap. Not dead yet.
BTW, for anyone looking to avoid stem waste, I can heartily recommend orecchietti ai broccoli (if you can’t get orecchietti than any short pasta such as fusilli will do). You cook the stems in with the pasta. The recipe doesn’t mention it, but I find a squeeze of lemon at the end is very nice.
I do give my broccoli a good visual inspection before I eat it though, from experience; years ago I was visiting a friend, and he was bragging about his veggie garden. He cut off a good-sized broccoli floret, ran it under the tap and said “try this- best broccoli you ever ate”. I was about to pop it in my mouth when I noticed something a bit odd. I took a closer look and saw a fat caterpillar along the stem, the exact same green color as the broccoli.
I just rinse under running water and shake it out. However, I’ll note that if you’re excessively concerned about pesticide residue, Cooks Illustrated recently published an article saying that rinsing in a solution of baking soda is effective at removing some pesticide residue, because they break down in an alkali solution.
I think this article is not behind a paywall, but this is the recommendation:
This reminds me of some lettuce I grew last year. I was very proud of my harvest, and used it on some rolls I took on a flight. I was in the air heading for Turkey when I opened my tupperware and discovered a big fat snail crawling inside the box. Probably broke some ‘importing livestock’ law right there.
Not necessarily a bad idea, for some vegetables. I would consider this for eggplant, for example.
So some of the above posts raise the question that should have been asked at the start: Just what am I supposed to be concerned about to begin with? Bugs? E coli? Pesticide residue? Poisonous green caterpillars?
I guess I feel I should worry about pesticide residue, and maybe things like E coli, and bugs and worms if they are toxic. I’m less paranoid about eating some random bugs or grubs, especially if they’re going to be boiled anyway. A little extra protein anyway. Will they be tender after slow cooking? I’d worry a little more for any vegs that I’m going to eat raw.
I’ll definitely say thanks but no thanks for the chocolate covered crickets, though.