How to Cook Fresh Broccoli to Keep Its Nutrients

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If cruciferous vegetables held a popularity contest, broccoli would be in with the in-crowd -- with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and the various cabbages trying desperately to fit in. Many ways are available to cook broccoli, but none of them should involve cooking the vegetable until it becomes a mushy, Army-green replica of its former self. Cooked broccoli should remain bright green and yield to the bite. In that form it retains vital nutrients, including iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin C and beta carotene, which are necessary antioxidants -- and which help this veggie stay popular with parents and healthy eaters.

Steam

Step 1

Cut and peel the woody broccoli stems and trim the florets into uniform pieces.

Step 2

Fill a pot 1-inch full of water and fit the steamer basket inside. Bring the water to a boil.

Step 3

Place broccoli evenly around the basket once the water reaches a rolling boil.

Step 4

Fit the lid onto the pot and steam broccoli for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and replace it so it partially covers the pot. Cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp-tender.

Step 5

Lift the cooked florets out of the pot with tongs and place on a plate. Season with salt and pepper, and generously squeeze fresh lemon juice over the dish.

Stir-Fry

Step 1

Pour the oil into a wok and heat on medium-high.

Step 2

Combine preferred seasonings, such as soy sauce, ginger or garlic, and whisk vigorously until blended. You can forgo additional protein, vegetables and seasonings, and simply stir-fry broccoli in a light oil.

Step 3

Add broccoli and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Then add any additional ingredients or vegetables that don't require as much cooking time as the woody broccoli.

Step 4

Pour seasonings into the stir-fry mix for 1 to 2 more minutes until the sauce is reduced.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • Large pot with lid

  • Steamer basket

  • Tongs

  • Plate

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

  • Lemon wedges

  • Wok

  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil

  • Serving fork

  • Serving spoon

  • 5 cups broccoli florets

Tip

Roast broccoli in the oven for about 15 minutes after it’s been tossed in a light oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Steam broccoli in the microwave by adding a small amount of water to the bottom of a microwave-safe dish, spreading broccoli evenly around the dish and covering with plastic wrap. Microwave in 1-minute increments until broccoli is crisp-tender. For optimum nutrition, cut broccoli into florets and enjoy raw as a snack or in a salad.

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