Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Clean Organic Broccoli - Weekly Tip

Do you buy organic food as often as possible? I do. Now, I am not claiming to only buy organic or to make sure that my kids only eat organically but when I have a choice I usually choose the organic option when it comes to what my girls eat. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the broccoli that they so love to eat can also easily be found in the organic variety. I immediately began buying, steaming and feeding my girls the healthy treat!

Have you ever looked closely at organic broccoli? I thought I was looking closely at and giving a thorough cleansing to the florets that I was encouraging my girls to eat and I guess since we can’t go back and look it is possible that I was but I think that possibility is pretty small…The last time I bought organic broccoli I bought it from Wal-Mart since it is less expensive there than the usual Harris Teeter price. I make a point of telling you this because this was the time that I noticed that after I steamed the florets there were hundreds (literally) of little bugs that were all over the florets and that had fallen off into the water! I was shocked and disgusted! I promptly threw all the perfectly steamed florets away and like I usually do when I buy bad food from Wal-Mart I blamed the source and vowed not to ever buy broccoli from there again. The next day I went to Harris Teeter and bought organic broccoli. I brought it home and began to inspect it and low and behold it too was covered in bugs! I looked up the phone number for the store where I bought the produce and intended to get my money back when my more level headed other half (Tyler) said “why don’t you just look on line and see what it says?” Hesitantly I did what he suggested and found that I was certainly not alone.

As it turns out pretty much every bunch of organic broccoli you buy will have these bugs (some call them aphids but I don’t care what they are called) on it. I had been missing them because they look just like broccoli and because they borough so deeply into the florets that they can easily be missed. From what I can tell these bugs exist on the organic variety of broccoli because of the very fact that it is “organic” meaning they do not use pesticides which means that pests can live on the vegetables. Duh. So if I want organic broccoli I need to find a way to clean it thoroughly.

Ok, so I have been experimenting and think I have a solution to getting these tiny bugs off of my broccoli for good! Here is what worked for my step by step:
1. Cut the florets off of the stems and soak them in cold water in the fridge overnight
2. Bring some water to a rolling boil and scoop the florets out of the water and put them into the pot of boiling water
3. Boil for 5 min, scoop (I emphasize scooping because that way you will leave the largest number of bugs behind in the water) them back into cold water and proceed to rinse several times.
4. Put the broccoli back into cold water and into the fridge for when you want to cook it.
5. Get broccoli out, rinse it a couple of times making sure no new bugs are falling out and then steam or cook as usual.

Whew, it is a lot of work but if you want bug-less organic broccoli this is what you are going to have to do.