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Jul 23, 2010 06:43 AM

Uninvited dinner guest on my Organic Broccoli

Help! My CSA broccoli seems to have been invaded by bright green caterpillars, maybe 6-8 of them per head. I try to pick them off before I rinse, then rinse thoroughly. I've even tried to submerge the broccoli in water to get rid of them. When I chop the florets, I search for the caterpillars, but still can't find them. It isn't until I start to steam my broccoli for dinner than they emerge from their hiding spots.

How do I get rid of these guys? I know accepting some level of pests is part of organic gardening, but I find them very unappealing and end up throwing my beautiful broccoli out, instead of eating it.

Thanks for any advice.


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  1. Does the steaming kill them? That's what I had assumed.

    I have found the same little hitch hikers on some of my CSA produce as well. Definitely broccoli and cauliflower but I seem to recall one other item that had a bunch of them. All I can say is that I'm glad I was doing the chopping and not my wife because she would probably also have been grossed out enough to throw them away; I just picked out the ones I could and figured the cookin' will take care of any I miss :-)

    4 Replies
    1. re: jzerocsk

      Yes, the steaming kills them, but I still don't want them in my food, dead or alive.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        "Give me spots,(worms) on my apples (broccoli), but leave me the birds and the bees PLEASE".............

        Try warm salt water bath before cooking, that should cause the little critters to exit their cozy homes.

          1. re: ospreycove

            The salt bath works well. I don't even warm it. Cold water in the sink, a double handful of salt, and toss the veg in there to soak for 15-30 min. That salt makes the little bast...buggers let go and float away. Drain, rinse well and proceed. However, in the case of broc and cauliflower, some of them may remain hidden and attached deep within the florets. I don't particularly care for unexpected protein so I separate the florets and inspect before I cook or munch.