Broccoli cooking

Roger Burton

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Hi chaps I’m a little confused, no change there, I want to cook broccoli and keep it crunchy and bright green, I generally plunge it into plenty of boiling water in a pan without a lid but I read that a lot of vitamins leach out into the water, the alternative is steaming but I thought steaming needed a lid and I believe acids condense on the inside of a lid and drip back down onto the veg. making them brown … anyone any advice please ?
 
I cook broccoli in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes and it stays bright green.If broccoli is really cheap in the market, I buy plenty, just blanch it for a minute and then freeze.
I really couldn´t tell you whether the vitamins disappear or not, but I doubt very much that it will be a life-changing experience.:laugh:
If you want to steam it, you can put a lettuce leaf over the top . The only time I´ve known broccoli to go brown is when too much lemon juice is sprinkled on it. Additionally, broccoli is almost completely acid-free, so I don´t understand where the "condensed acids" would come from.
 
I agree kara’, hardly worth worrying about but I’ve heard about the reasoning for not putting a lid on from several sources including the marvellous Harold McGee “On Food and Cooking” here’s another reference:

Food Science: Why Blanched Vegetables (Sometimes) Turn Brown

Yes, covering the pot certainly seems like the logical thing to do! After all, a covered pot conserves energy, brings the water back up to a boil, and keeps the steam inside the pot–all things that would theoretically help our veggies cook more quickly.
Here’s what is really going on in that pot:
As the veggies hit the boiling water, volatile acids are released into the water and are carried away in the steam.

When the pot is covered, the steam and the acids it contains are forced back into the water. Once there, the acids react with the chlorophyll in the vegetables, turning them an unsightly shade of brown.
A similar reaction will take place if there’s too little water in the pot (thus concentrating the acids in the water) or if you overcook the vegetables (thus prolonging the exposure time to the acids).
 
I´m definitely not going to question McGee, but as I mentioned previously - broccoli has very little acid and is almost completely neutral, so I´m at a loss to see where all the volatile acids come from.
 
I microwave with a little water. I believe that preserves nutrients rather like steaming. But that is not why I do it - I find that microwaving keeps a vibrant green. You need to be careful not to overcook though (as with all microwaved foods). This is the only photo I could find - but you can see how vibrant green it looks.

74668
 
Maybe they'll turn brown left in too long with a lid, maybe they won't. I've not experienced that over the years but I'm sure it happens. Some water soluble vitamins will be lost and some other aspects will become more bioavailable from cooking. Like MG recommends, microwaving would solve your problem if your worried.
 
Hi chaps I’m a little confused, no change there, I want to cook broccoli and keep it crunchy and bright green, I generally plunge it into plenty of boiling water in a pan without a lid but I read that a lot of vitamins leach out into the water, the alternative is steaming but I thought steaming needed a lid and I believe acids condense on the inside of a lid and drip back down onto the veg. making them brown … anyone any advice please ?

The best way to achieve the results you desire is to steam the broccoli. This can be done in two ways, - 1) use a steam basket in a steamer appliance, or - 2) cook in a shallow pan with a small amount of water and with a lid.

Timing is critical. Do not steam for more than a few minutes, only long enough to brighten the broccoli. If you use the sauce pan technique, you should turn the pieces of broccoli about half way through the cook cycle.

Boiling broccoli will always result in a soft dull green result.
 
The best way to achieve the results you desire is to steam the broccoli. This can be done in two ways, - 1) use a steam basket in a steamer appliance, or - 2) cook in a shallow pan with a small amount of water and with a lid.

Timing is critical. Do not steam for more than a few minutes, only long enough to brighten the broccoli. If you use the sauce pan technique, you should turn the pieces of broccoli about half way through the cook cycle.

Boiling broccoli will always result in a soft dull green result.

That or microwave like MG.
 
I microwave with a little water. I believe that preserves nutrients rather like steaming. But that is not why I do it - I find that microwaving keeps a vibrant green. You need to be careful not to overcook though (as with all microwaved foods). This is the only photo I could find - but you can see how vibrant green it looks.

View attachment 74668
looks good mg
 
I'm also in the microwave camp; it's too easy and you don't lose any nutrients. Cut a head into florets, rinse it in water and shake but not too dry and then microwave on high for 2.5 mins (or depending on the power of your machine - mine is 800W) until they just turn bright green.
 
I'm also in the microwave camp; it's too easy and you don't lose any nutrients. Cut a head into florets, rinse it in water and shake but not too dry and then microwave on high for 2.5 mins (or depending on the power of your machine - mine is 800W) until they just turn bright green.

Definitely know the power of your microwave oven. Mine is 1,200W, and 2.5 minutes would be too long.

CD
 
I'm also in the microwave camp; it's too easy and you don't lose any nutrients. Cut a head into florets, rinse it in water and shake but not too dry and then microwave on high for 2.5 mins (or depending on the power of your machine - mine is 800W) until they just turn bright green.

My microwave takes a bit longer: about 5 mins. But after discussing 'al dente' pasta in another thread, I'm now wondering if I prefer things a little less 'al dente' than most here...
 
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