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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Using cores and leaves of cauliflower

Because I've had to buy a lot of vegetables this summer, my grocery costs have been higher than normal. To address this, I've made sure that nothing is wasted.

Last week I bought a head of cauliflower. A lot of folks just use the tender flowerets. The cores and leaves can also be used in cooking. They tend to be tougher, so need some special attention, but nothing too complicated.

To use the leaves, thin slice them and chop fine. To use the cores, slice them into thin "coins," then julienne the coins into slivers. With both the leaves and cores sliced/chopped thin, you can saute these pieces to add to stir-fry. To ensure they are tender, add to the stir-fry early in cooking, and cook completely, with a little liquid, if possible.

The other night I stir-fried cauliflower (flowerets, leaves and core) along with sliced mushrooms, to which I added garlic and soy sauce. It was a delicious side dish and no one was even aware that I had used the core and leaves.

Cores and leaves of cauliflower are fibrous. The key is to slice across the fibers, reducing the length of each fiber significantly, and you'll have a tasty, edible extra portion of cauliflower that might have otherwise gone into the garbage.


  1. YES! I do the same thing. I never throw away broccoli stems either. At work a couple months ago, there was a "healthy" seminar with "healthy" snacks. The gal who is in charge of benefits (medical) made a veggie tray. She bought fresh broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc. and cut the stem off from the broccoli and tossed it into the garbage. I about had a heart attack because if my frugal household, we use it in stir fry's also or cheese broccoli soup and we never throw it away.

    On the same note I always peel my apples and potatoes with a peeler and not free hand. Free hand wastes too much of the peel IMO. I even like the table top top apple peeler. They don't waste a lot of either.

    Thanks, Lili for another reminder in your topic!


    1. Hi Alice,
      Oh my, yes, I understand that moment of shock seeing the woman throwing away the stems of the broccoli. If broccoli stems are ever tough, I peel them, then chop. I don't know if your stores have gone towards this too, but my stores usually just have the broccoli crowns now, with little stem. It's more expensive. But it must be what most consumers want nowadays.
      I've always used a veggie peeler because I can't do a good or fast job with a paring knife. That's good to know that the peeler saves more of the fruit or vegetable.
      Have a great day, Alice!

    2. To remove really tough broccoli/cauliflower peels, take a paring knife and holding the top of the blade (dull side) against your thumb, insert just the smallest part of the knife edge at the base of the stem and peel/pull upwards, removing just the hard, tough peel. I continue until most of it is removed. HTH

  2. Thanks for teaching an old lady a new trick. Have a cauliflower in my refrigerator right now.

    1. Hi Sandy,
      It's great to know that I have something "new" to share with someone! Have a great day!

  3. That stirfry sounds delicious, Lili! I usually steam cauliflower whole, and them mash it, so I use the stems, but they are longer fibers. The cross-cutting is a great idea. :)

    I try not to waste produce, either. I always use the leaves and hearts of celery (after a little trim of the dry tops.) Some people (not frugal ones ;))look at me funny, but there's a lot of flavor in there, and I assume a lot of nutritional value, as well. If you don't like the yellowy color in salads or stir-fry, they don't show as much in stuffing, soups, and smoothies. :)

    Have a great day! Sara

  4. Oooo... Thanks for the tip! CatMan is a big fan of cauliflower so we have it often and I HATE tossing the leaves and stems - it's such a huge percentage of what you actually pay for. I see some cauliflower stem stir fry in my near future!

  5. We don't throw away much either. We enjoy even collard green stems. Peel out the largest fiber located in the middle of the stem, and cook a bit longer. Tastes as good as broccoli stems.

    Have a good day,


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