Save the Broccoli Stems

Like many other countries around the world, Australia has been experiencing inflation at a somewhat alarming rate. Pretty much everything is going up in price, but perhaps the most notable is the cost of groceries and in particular fresh fruit and vegetables.

Recently, news sites and social media were flooded with images and articles of Broccoli stems in supermarkets where Broccoli (presumably was priced per kilo) and shoppers were choosing to break off part of the vegetable they clearly had no intention of using to reduce the weight, and ultimately the cost at the checkout.

Supermarkets respondent to this ‘trend’ by placing signage nearby produce warning customers not to break the stems off broccoli, that this was classified as theft and that produce would be checked at the registers upon checkout.

I am totally shocked by this behaviour, mostly because the broccoli stem is my favourite part and if anything I’d be leaving the top part behind and paying for the stem only if it were me. Moreover, in these trying times, buying the whole broccoli is economical in the sense that it’s a way to create two meals rather than just one.

My husband and I regularly buy a broccoli and use the top part of the broccoli in a stirfry (just the other day we made broccoli, chicken and rice noodle stirfry). The stem? It’s currently in a container in the fridge, waiting to be turned into one of my absolute favourite dishes, broccoli stem fried rice.

Broccoli stem fried rice is one of my favourite meals because it is so quick, easy and cheap. A basic verison we make includes finely chopped broccoli stem, carrot, egg, frozen peas, oil and soy sauce. I understand these are trying economic times which, in my opinion is all the more reason to try and reduce waste and make use of everything available to you. Using the broccoli stem in fried rice is a great way of using it up and ‘hiding it’ among other things. It’s also a great way of making a second mid-week healthy dinner for very little additional cost (a perfect way to save money). Any other veggies that look like they might be about to turn? some mushrooms? corn? spring onion? throw everything in, don’t let anything go to waste! Using up produce like this is a great way to save money and buy less. It’s also a great ‘go to’ meal for during the week when there’s that after work rush and means there’s one less meal idea you have to come up with. We buy a broccoli for something? broccoli stem fried rice is a default meal that week.

Do you use your broccoli stems? or do you throw them out?