How Do I Microwave Broccoli?

Cooking broccoli in the microwave is remarkably easy, and requires only a few steps to complete. Broccoli should typically be chosen that is still fresh, which means the florets should be fairly tight and dark green in color. The florets can then be cut from the stalks and placed in a microwave safe dish with a small amount of water, covered, and then cooked for several minutes until tender. According to some research, it seems that if you microwave broccoli, you may be eliminating many of its antioxidants, so consider other cooking methods.

You can microwave broccoli quite quickly and easily, and this method works for both fresh and frozen varieties, depending on your preferences. If you are using fresh broccoli, then look for stalks that are dark green in color, perhaps with a slight purple tint on the edges; they should be without any yellow coloration. The florets are often best if fairly tight and full in appearance. You want to avoid any signs of wilting and discoloration, as this usually indicates that the broccoli is not fresh. If you are going to microwave broccoli that is sold frozen, then look for packages that contain mostly florets with few stalks.

When using fresh broccoli, you can quickly prepare it by rinsing it and then cutting the florets off of the stalks. You can trim these down to smaller bite-sized pieces, which you then place into a microwave safe bowl. To microwave broccoli that is frozen, open the bag and remove any large, "woody" pieces of stalk that may be unpleasant in flavor and texture. Some packages of frozen broccoli are designed to be cooked in the bag, and you should follow the directions on the packaging if you use this method.

Once the florets are in a bowl, then add a small amount of water to the dish before you microwave broccoli. This water is not meant for boiling, but instead provides steam during cooking. Only a few small spoonfuls is necessary, and adding too much can result in water-logged florets that become soggy. Microwave broccoli for just a few minutes, depending on the power of your particular oven, checking it occasionally. You want it to be tender to prodding with a fork, but not too soft.

There is some research that indicates that you may remove valuable antioxidants when you microwave broccoli. Certain compounds that function as antioxidants in the broccoli may actually be eliminated due to exposure to microwave radiation. Boiling broccoli in water can also eliminate many nutrients that go into the liquid rather than remaining in the stalks or florets. Traditional steaming in a pot with a steamer basket is typically considered the best preparation method, though broccoli can also be roasted in a conventional oven.


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