How to Remove Bitterness From Cooked Broccoli

Broccoli contains varying amounts of bitter compounds depending on the type. Standard broccoli is relatively mild in flavor, chinese broccoli is slightly more bitter and broccoli rabe contains the highest level of bitter compounds. Blanching broccoli in a large pot of salt water releases bitter acids from the plant cells and rinses them away, an action that steaming does not provide because of the low level of water involved. Additional measures for neutralizing broccoli's bitterness include tossing it with salt and citrus sauce.

A large bowl of steamed broccoli with spices.
Credit: MarynaVoronova/iStock/Getty Images

Blanching and Steaming Broccoli

Step 1

Cut the broccoli bunch in half. Continue cutting each half into smaller halves until the florets are reduced to bite-size pieces. Remove and peel the stem. Cut the stems into bite-size oblong pieces.

Step 2

Boil three quarts of salted water in a stockpot. Add the broccoli and submerge for two minutes. Pour the broccoli into a colander to drain.

Step 3

Add an inch of water to the stockpot. Boil and place broccoli in a steamer basket over the water. Steam until tender; about four minutes.

Step 4

Strain broccoli and sprinkle salt to taste.

Orange Ginger Sauce

Step 1

Combine orange juice, orange zest, ginger, tamari, honey and sesame oil in a large bowl.

Step 2

Toss the broccoli with the orange ginger sauce.

Step 3

Pour the broccoli into a dish and serve.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 bunch broccoli

  • 5-quart stockpot

  • Colander

  • Salt

  • Orange Ginger Sauce:

  • Juice from 1 orange

  • 1 tsp. orange zest

  • 1 inch ginger, finely minced

  • 1 tbsp. tamari

  • 1 tbsp. honey

  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

  • Large bowl

  • Serving dish

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