How to Prevent Broccoli Color Deterioration When Cooking

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By cooking broccoli for just the right length of time, you can retain its bright green color and firmness. When you overcook broccoli, it turns mushy and tasteless, losing color as well as nutrients. Whether you plan to use broccoli in salads, or as a topping in pastas, soups or casseroles, you should cook it for just a few minutes and add it to your recipe at the end of the cooking process. You can apply the same basic mechanics to a variety of techniques such as boiling, steaming or stir-frying the broccoli.

Things You'll Need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Saucepan
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Tea towel
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Fork
  • Pot
  • Steamer basket

Boiling

  • Place the broccoli on a chopping board. Use a knife to slice off the stem and cut the broccoli head into several individual florets.

  • Place the florets in a colander. Wash under running water. Drain and set aside.

  • Fill a saucepan with water. Add a little olive oil or vegetable oil and a dash salt for taste. The oil helps to retain the bright color of the broccoli even after it cooks. Set the saucepan on medium heat and bring to a rolling boil.

  • Remove the saucepan from the heat source. Put the broccoli florets in it and cover with a lid for around 2 minutes. The high temperature serves to seal in the natural color and nutrients right below the surface of the broccoli.

  • Discard the water immediately to prevent the broccoli from overcooking. Eat the broccoli right as is or add it into recipes.

Stir-Frying

  • Chop the broccoli into individual florets. Place in a bowl and clean under running water. Drain the water. Pat the broccoli dry with a tea towel.

  • Pour a little olive oil in a skillet. Set it on medium-high heat and let it smoke.

  • Sprinkle a little salt on the florets. Add the florets to the pan. Stir with a spatula to evenly coat the florets with the oil. Cook for 3 minutes or until the broccoli turns bright green and tender.

Steaming

  • Fill a pot with a little water and set on medium heat. Insert a steamer basket over the top. Ensure that the water from the pot does not come in contact with the base of the steamer basket.

  • Place the cleaned and chopped broccoli florets in the steamer basket. Cover with the lid. Let the florets steam for around 8 minutes or until tender.

  • Pierce a broccoli stem with a fork to check if it is ready. The fork will easily run through the flesh if it is fully cooked.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select broccoli that is a vibrant green without any brown or yellow discoloration. Ensure that it has a firm stem and head.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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