Broccoli is a delicious and healthy vegetable, growing to form large flower heads made up of many tiny florets. Before you cook or eat fresh broccoli, wash it first to remove dirt, pesticides, and even insects. You can wash broccoli quickly and easily with water or a vinegar solution, and you can remove the cabbage caterpillars from the buds with a brine solution.
Method 1 of 3: Washing Broccoli with Water
Step 1. Fill a sink with cold water and soak the broccoli for 5-10 minutes
Thoroughly clean the sink and plug it in to stop water from flowing down the drain. Make sure there is enough water to cover the broccoli completely. After that, leave the broccoli in the water to wash off the soil and dirt.
- Once the broccoli is in the water, stir it a few times to remove any larger debris.
- If you use warm water, the broccoli florets will wilt a little.
- If you don't have a sink to soak in, just use a large bowl. However, make sure the broccoli is submerged under water.
Step 2. Put the broccoli in a colander and pour cold water over it
After soaking, dry the sink and turn on the cold water. Let the water rinse the broccoli in a colander and turn the broccoli over to wash all the sides.
If you don't have a colander, just hold the broccoli in your hands and drizzle it over with water
Step 3. Use your hands to scrub the vegetables and remove dirt and debris
The broccoli head has many nooks and crannies where dirt can get trapped. To remove it, run your finger over the broccoli florets and also rub the sides and bottom of the stem.
If you have a brush for cleaning fruits and vegetables, use it to wash broccoli, but be careful when brushing the florets. Broccoli florets are very soft and can break easily from the stem
Step 4. Shake the broccoli dry before serving or cooking
Hold the broccoli over the sink and let the water drip off the florets for a few seconds. After that, shake the broccoli by hand 3-4 times to remove as much water as possible from between the buds.
If the florets and stems are still wet, you can wipe them dry with a paper towel or clean cloth before preparing the broccoli
Method 2 of 3: Washing Broccoli with Vinegar Solution
Step 1. Fill a large bowl with 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar
Make sure the bowl is big enough to hold the broccoli. Stir the solution with a spoon to mix the water and vinegar. Add enough water to cover the broccoli heads completely.
For example, if you put 700 ml (3 cups) of water in a bowl, add 240 ml of water (1 cup) white vinegar
Step 2. Add broccoli to the solution and soak for 15-20 minutes
Stir the broccoli in the bowl a few times to remove any large impurities, then let the vegetables rest. While waiting for the broccoli to soak, you can prepare other ingredients.
Soaking broccoli in vinegar takes a little longer than water, but is more effective at removing pesticides and bacteria than just water
Step 3. Remove broccoli from solution and rinse with cold water
When rinsing, use your hands or a brush to scrub the stems and florets of the broccoli. Rinse all sides of the broccoli, including the base of the stalk and the part under the florets.
If you soak the broccoli for more than 30 minutes, the vegetables will start to absorb the vinegar and give it a bitter taste
Method 3 of 3: Getting Rid of Cabbage Caterpillars with Salt Water
Step 1. Put the broccoli in a container of cold water with the florets down
If the broccoli is organic or homegrown, you may be concerned about having caterpillars on the buds. To be safe, soak broccoli florets in a salt solution.
Caterpillars tend to live inside the florets because there are lots of places to hide. If you're worried about having caterpillars on the stems as well, just submerge the whole broccoli in the water, but keep the florets upside down
Step 2. Add 1 tbsp
(5 ml) of salt for every 1000 ml of cold water. Pour in the salt after the broccoli has been added and stir the broccoli heads in the water to dissolve the salt. This stirring will also remove and release many caterpillars from hiding places.
If you don't see any caterpillars while stirring the broccoli, continue the soaking process to make sure nothing is hiding
Step 3. Soak the broccoli for 15-30 minutes to remove the caterpillars
When the broccoli is soaked, the caterpillars on the florets will shrivel in the cold water and float to the top. To remove them from the water, poke them with a sieve or a slotted spatula.
You don't need to get the caterpillars out of the water, but if they do, they won't be able to re-attach to the stalks when the broccoli is removed
Step 4. Rinse the broccoli florets in cold water to remove any remaining salt
After soaking, there may be salt still on the broccoli. Hold the broccoli head under cold running water for 15 seconds, turning it over to rinse the other side.
If the broccoli has not been cleaned with a brush or hands, you can do this now while rinsing
Step 5. Shake the broccoli and pat it dry
Hold the broccoli upside down over the sink and tap the base of the stalk to remove any remaining caterpillars. After that, use a clean paper towel to dry off any excess water and examine the broccoli florets closely.