Four ways to use your broccoli stem and three ways to cook a banana skin

Broccoli plus stalks

Broccoli plus stalks - Credit: Archant

My vegetable shopping this week has gone a tad further than it usually does, thanks to the fact that I’ve added broccoli stem to my diet, writes Sheena Grant.

Readers may recall I wrote last week about the subject of whether or not to eat the “trunk” of a broccoli “tree” after seeing a customer in the Ipswich town centre Sainsbury’s brazenly snap off florets and return what remained of a butchered stem to the shelf.

After my relaying of the tale back at the office, colleague Steve revealed himself as a broccoli stem eater and expressed amazement that I had never thought of doing the same.

Until that moment, I hadn’t. The fact that even my guinea pigs refuse to eat broccoli stem had convinced me it must be ropey. But encouraged by Steve’s assurances that it wasn’t, and after doing a little more research on the subject, I took the plunge.

That very same evening I steamed some broccoli stem and served it up with a few of the florets. If anything, it was sweeter and more tender than the florets. I’ve now cut up and frozen extra helpings for use in a variety of ways after hearing from readers who, like Steve, discovered the delights of broccoli stem long ago.


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Christine Hembury was one of several people who emailed to say she roasts broccoli stems and finds them delicious.

Pat West, who likes to grab a second-hand bargain and bulk-buys, then freezes, meat to ensure she rarely spends more than £1.50 on a meal for two, got in touch to say she eats broccoli stems and cauliflower stalks raw as she cooks. “They are delicious,” she adds. “You can cook them but raw is nicer.”

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Natalie Sadler, meanwhile, freezes stems for blitzing in a food processor and adding to spaghetti bolognese or lasagne.

Thanks to Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show I’ve also learned you can apparently eat banana skin too. According to listeners who got in touch to answer a question about this very subject, it’s best baked, fried or boiled, and contains 12% of your daily fibre needs.

Any other tips about making use of the bits of fruit and veg we often throw away? Email sheena.grant@eadt.co.uk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, #ThriftyLiving.

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