The Real Reason You Should Be Saving Your Broccoli Stalks

Some people appreciate life by stopping to smell the flowers. But if you want to appreciate life to the fullest, a refreshing whiff isn't always enough. Sometimes you need to eat the flowers. Why not try a bouquet of broccoli? That's right — as SFGate explains, broccoli is indeed a flower. Specifically, the green, Chia-pet-looking growths atop the broccoli stalk are the flowers, or florets. While you're stopping to smell and eat the Chia flowers, you should probably stop yourself from tossing out the stalks and eat those, too.

Now, you might wonder what use you have for the broccoli stalk. After all, nobody stops to sniff the thorns of a rose. You want the best part of the plant, and as Bon Appetit points out, the broccoli flowers "pick up texture and absorb flavors and seasoning beautifully." Why waste your time trying to eat the worst-tasting part of the vegetable? Won't that just make most children (and probably some adults) cry even harder at the dinner table than they already do — since many people dread broccoli, although, not us! There could be a much rosier future for you and broccoli stalks. 

How to use your broccoli stalks

Unlike roses, broccoli stems won't be a thorn in your insides if you eat them — quite the opposite, actually. According to UC Berkeley Wellness, the broccoli stem provides just as much vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, potassium, and cancer-fighting compounds as the florets. Granted, the fact that something is good for you doesn't make it taste or feel good. That stalk can make you feel like you're chewing a tree, and your mouth isn't a wood chipper. But Bon Appetit contributor Alex Delany argues that if you "treat them right," the stems will treat your mouth right.

Delany advises removing and discarding off the bottom 1 to 2 inches of the stalk, or the woodiest bit. Regardless of what you do with the remainder, slicing it into smaller sections will help the texture overall. Dry-roasting the stalk slices in an oven would soften them. If you plan on blanching or stir-frying the stalk, you ought to peel it. Other ideas for your broccoli stalks instead of wasting them include making baby food, soup, pickling them, using them in place of cabbage in coleslaw, and baking up some stalk chips (via MNN).

Once you find the right dish for you, that broccoli stem will come out smelling like a rose and tasting way better than one.