As I said in a previous post, this was written before the COVID19 outbreak but it seems even more pogniant now…
One of the best things we can do to reduce our environmental impact is to be careful with the food we eat. One of the most wasted items of food – that I see, in any case – is the broccoli stem.
I’m not really sure why this is, to be honest. I mean, sure – if you boil it with the florettes, it ends up stringy, but there are loads of different ways to cook it.
Rather than throw it out, I collect mine in the freezer. When I have 4-5 stalks chopped up and in a bag, I buy a brand new florette and make broccoli soup. Admittedly, you can absolutely make it without the whole, new broccoli head, but it can look a little bit pale and anaemic.
Anyway, here’s what I usually do.
3-4 broccoli stalks
1 whole head of broccoli
1 stock cube (I use OXO chicken/beef as it’s plastic & palm oil free, but if you want vegetable stock, you can make your own too)
A dairy product – optional (this is ideal for using up the ends of soured cream, for example, or cheese rinds).
- Chop your onions and fry them off in a little oil. I tend to use the oil from sun-dried tomatoes for frying things off in as it adds a little flavour and uses up something you’d otherwise throw out.
- After your onions have softened a little, add the chopped, frozen stalks to your pan, along with your stock and enough water to cover. (Some astute readers might note the asparagus ends and celery in the frozen veg below – I just tend to freeze odd scraps that are about to go off, so I can use them in soup . This lot ended up in with the broccoli.)
- After these have softened a little, add your fresh broccoli.
- When it’s soft enough, use the stick blender to mush the lot. Or, if your family likes to actually chew their food (unlike my youngest), blend until there are chunks of your preferred size in there. Afterwards, add any dairy that you’re going to add.
- Serve, and enjoy.
In the interests of total disclosure, my kids like this more than my husband and I do. I feel like there’s a depth of flavour that’s lacking (which may or may not be improved by the use of ham stock…). That said, in terms of affordability and uses of food waste, this is definitely a winner. And it doesn’t taste bad. Not by any stretch of the imagination – it’s a warming, hearty soup. I’m just used to being thoroughly spoiled with what I get to eat. I married a wonderful cook.
Do you make use of your broccoli stems? I would love to hear what you do! As ever, contact me here, or on Twitter.