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Broccoli stem lovers: What are your cutting and trimming tricks (knife, mandolin, processor, grater) to produce your favorite uses for this beloved stem?

Seems to me that the main reason that the stem is under-utilized is that it's tricky to cut.

Consider the tough cuticled exterior, and the numerous leaf bases to trim (or not), lots of folks just throw it away rather than do the work to get to the treasure of the stem.

So, what cutting techniques do you use?

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  1. I just use a good sharp vegetable peeler to peel whatever tough outer part there is...then slice and use in salads and dip in hummus. It reminds me a little of fresh ginger...it it's a little old, it will be harder to peel that outside tough stuff off.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      Exactly-- peel, and then just use a knife to cut into thin slices or matchsticks. (If I want slices, I cut in half and lay flat side down to cut)

    2. My mom would love you! As poor immigrants, when I was a child, my mom made me use every little bit of all of the broccoli, but I could never appreciate the underwhelming flavor of the stems.

      They peel very easily by making a small incision at the base of the peel and then just peel it up with the small utility knife (like a banana peel) toward the florets until it just tears off (or you can just cut it off wherever you feel like it's reasonably thin). Then slice it thinly on the diagonal so it stir fries quickly (and we always use a little water in our stir fries for the harder veggies such as carrots, broccoli, kohl rabi, etc.).

      1. I take a knife and just chop off the outer part (the lazy woman's method)...I don't think I waste much and it takes about 5 seconds, resulting in a rectangle of a stem. I always end up eating it raw after that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bluemoon4515

          the lazy man uses the lazy woman's method. i then usually make rectangular planks for stir frying

        2. I love broccoli stems. Wish sometimes there were more stem!

          I too use a knife and just get rid of the tough outer layer. Then cut it into matchsticks, dropped into a bowl with a little salt and slotted into the fridge for an afternoon of sitting.

          it's delicious and so refreshing as a side dish or snack!

          1. I use a knife to start and then peel the "bark" off the stems, then generally slice the stem.