beets in a stack 

Preparation: Step-by-Step


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Wash hands. Rinse broccoli to remove sand and dirt.


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Cut florets from the stalk. Pull apart or chop florets.

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Chop broccoli into 1/4- to 1/2-inch sections to add to salads and pastas or for eating raw.

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Trim stalks and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch sticks. Stalk can be chopped or cubed to use in soups and stews.


  • Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable which grows at 65-75°F. It can be grown by direct seeding or transplanting. Broccoli should be planted in rows that are three feet apart. Space the plants 1½ to 2 feet apart in the row. Well-drained soils are needed for growing broccoli. 

    For more growing information, look for the MSU Extension MontGuide: Planting a Successful Home Vegetable Garden,  or contact your local MSU Extension office.


  • Broccoli heads, or compact clusters of unopened flower buds, and the attached stem, are the edible parts of the plant. Select compact and fully-developed heads. Harvest before it begins to loosen, separate, or turn yellow. Once the central head has fully developed, cut from the plant, keeping 5-6 inches of the stem intact. Removing the central head stimulates the side shoots to develop for later cuttings.
  • Look for large, firm, and bright green or dark-green heads.
  • Store the broccoli, unwashed, in loose or perforated plastic bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. It can be refrigerated for 3-5 days.
  • Most vegetables are rich in fiber and phytochemicals, but provide negligible amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium and are gluten-free. Broccoli is high in folate and Vitamins C, A and K and also a good source of potassium and dietary fiber, with 15 calories per half-cup serving.

Boil or Steam.

  • Place chopped broccoli florets and/or stems (evenly-sized pieces) into steamer or pan of boiling water. Steam or boil about 10-15 minutes until individual pieces are tender enough to easily pierce through with a fork, or until desired tenderness.



  • Place broccoli florets or chopped broccoli in a microwave-safe dish with 2-3 tablespoons water. Microwave on high for 5-8 minutes or until tender.

Pasta, Salad, or Stir-fry.

  • Chop broccoli into 1/4- to 1/2-inch florets to any lasagna, pasta sauce, or pasta salad. Add to any green salad or stir-fry dish.


  • Rinse and trim broccoli to enjoy plain or with a low-fat dip such as yogurt.



  • Place broccoli spears in a plastic bag and drizzle with olive oil and low-sodium seasonings. Shake until broccoli is coated. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or until tender.



  • To enhance flavor, season with allspice, basil, curry powder, dill weed, garlic, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, tarragon, thyme or lemon juice.




For More Information:
Montana State University Extension:
MSU Extension Master Gardener:
MSU Extension Food and Nutrition:
MSU Extension Nutrition Education Programs:


Date of Publication: January 2014

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