Q: I prefer broccoli stalks to the florets. Which is more healthful?
A: All parts are good for you. Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables, providing vitamin C (a day’s worth in a cup, chopped), potassium, B vitamins (including folate)—even some calcium and iron.
Ounce for ounce, the florets and stalks deliver equal amounts of these nutrients, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Broccoli (like other cruciferous vegetables) also contains sulforaphane and other compounds that may protect against certain cancers. However, the florets, which are where the seeds and flowers develop, have a higher concentration of protective phytochemicals, notably beta carotene and other carotenoids as well as sulforaphane. The stalks, on the other hand, have more fiber.
Eating all parts of broccoli— even the leaves—is a good idea. Look for broccoli with dark green or purplish (not yellowing) florets. To preserve nutrients, don’t overcook.