Pickled Broccoli stems

Wicker basket with green vegetables, fruits and herbs, vintage dark wood background, selective focus

**Recipe** Pickled broccoli stems

Most fruits and vegetables can be preserved one way or another, with varying degrees of success. We are all used to the standard pickled gherkins, beetroot, red cabbage and onions, but have you ever considered pickling broccoli – or more specifically, pickling broccoli stems? You will be surprised by how tasty they can be, given that broccoli stems are usually discarded in favour of the flowery ends.

Pickled broccoli stems

Stems from one broccoli bunch, peeled
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons each of salt and sugar
1 teaspoon pickling spices
1 bay leaf
Zest and juice of half a lemon

Cut the peeled broccoli stems into 2cm chunks and blanch in a pot of boiling water – you should be able to pierce them with a fork after two or three minutes. Refresh in cold water and drain.

Add the vinegar, salt and sugar, pickling spices, bay leaf, lemon zest and juice to a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Pour the pickling mixture over the broccoli stems and allow to cool, then refrigerate for four hours. Serve with cold meats and cheese.

You will be surprised how much you can do with broccoli stems besides pickling them; for example, they are also delicious sliced and fried until golden around the edges in a little oil, then sprinkled with salt. Here are two more ideas:

Broccoli stem slaw

6 broccoli stems, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
1 Granny Smith apple
Half a cup of cornichons
One and a half cups mayonnaise
Quarter of a cup Dijon mustard
Quarter of a cup cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the broccoli stems, carrots, celery stalks, onion, apple and cornichons into thin strips, julienne style. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper and stir into the vegetables. Allow to sit for about an hour before serving.

Broccoli stem soup

4 potatoes and 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and sliced
One head of broccoli stems
Creme fraiche or soured cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes, carrots and onion in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the broccoli stems and continue to cook until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool a little before using a hand blender to whizz the mixture into a smooth puree. Swirl a dollop of crème fraiche or soured cream into each bowl when serving.

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