Buying pre-cut broccoli florets by the bag is expensive and has a shorter shelf life than when you do it yourself. And with just a few pointers, this basic knife skill is one of the easiest to master.
As a professional cook of over 15 years and a dad whose son’s favorite vegetable is broccoli, cutting broccoli into florets is a skill I hold dear.
Broccoli florets are a nutrient-dense component of stir-fries, roasted vegetables, soups, and salads. So stick around to learn the easiest method for cutting broccoli florets.
The Easiest Way To Cut Broccoli Florets
Wash Your Veggies
Your first step when preparing broccoli, and most other produce, is to give it a thorough rinse. This is an important step to remove dirt, pesticides, and potential bacteria before cutting.
And don’t forget to flip the broccoli upside down while you rinse. This allows water to get between all of those broccoli buds and branches where debris can hide.
Cut And Remove The Base
Next, place the head of broccoli on its side on your cutting board. Hold the bushy head with your non-dominant hand so the stem points towards your cutting hand.
With a sharp knife, cut through the base of the broccoli just below where all the smaller stems meet.
Pro-tip: Save and use the large broccoli stem as well. Simply peel and chop the stem and use it just like the rest of the broccoli. Raw sticks are great for crudité, or chop them smaller for use in stir-fries.
Break Into Large Pieces With Hands
Now that the stem is removed, you can pull apart larger bunches of florets with your hands. This reduces the number of cuts you have to make and gives you more manageable pieces to work with.
Any small pieces that break off during this process can be set aside and used as is
Trim Large Bunches Into Florets
Finally, take your large broccoli bunches and break them down into whatever size floret you’d like.
If you want large florets to be steamed or roasted, simply cut the bunches into halves or quarters.
For smaller pieces that will be used in stir-fries or crudité platters, separate individual florets by cutting at the point where multiple stems come together.
I like to keep the stems on the longer side so that they can be used as a handle when eaten by hand. Especially if there is any dipping involved.
Use large florets for roasting, medium ones for crudités or stir-fries, and small pieces for soups or baked goods, like quiche.
How To Store Broccoli Florets
Broccoli does best with at least a little air circulation in the fridge. If stored in an airtight container, the ethylene gas it produces gets trapped and will cause the broccoli to spoil faster.
However, if left completely uncovered, broccoli will dry out and become very limp.
To combat those fates, I like to use a large zipper bag and seal it about ¾ of the way to allow some airflow. Then, place the broccoli in a colder part of your fridge (like the crisper drawer if you have one), and it should hold for three to five days.
If you know you won’t be getting to your broccoli for several days, it’s a good idea to place a damp towel in the container with your broccoli to help keep it firm and crisp.
Pro-tip: Cooked broccoli can last for months in the freezer. Just ensure it has been allowed to cool down completely before sealing and freezing it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What part of broccoli is the floret?
A broccoli floret is a dark green bud, or group of buds, from the top of the plant with a small piece of stem attached.
How do you finely chop broccoli florets?
Break or cut a head of broccoli into small pieces, then use a chef’s knife to repeatedly rock back and forth over the pieces until they are as small as you’d like.
What’s the difference between broccoli florets and broccoli cuts?
Broccoli florets are made up of the green bud of a broccoli crown with a small piece of stem intact. Broccoli cuts are larger pieces with a larger portion of stem still connected.