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“Is this what bugs look like?” while washing broccoli…[Foodie]

Reporter Yoo Sung-yeon] Broccoli is often referred to as a “superfood” for its nutritional benefits. However, there is a downside to this seemingly perfect vegetable. It’s called ‘washing’. The broccoli we eat is a cluster of florets, and if you don’t wash it the right way, it’s hard to get rid of the bugs and debris inside.

Dense florets, no running water…”salt water soak”

Broccoli [123RF]

We’ve all experienced the ultimate difficulty of washing broccoli: it’s hard to get the florets apart, and even running water makes them splash around. You end up doing a “rough” job, but it still leaves you feeling a little soggy.

In fact, broccoli’s dense florets are a great hiding place for bugs. The larvae of the most common cabbage caterpillar are small and light green in color, similar to broccoli, so they’re not easy to spot. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), an average of 1,660 insects are contained in a head of broccoli (frozen) consumed by a person in a year. According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, in 2020, consumers reported finding night moths and caterpillars in frozen broccoli imported and sold by a major Korean retailer.

Due to its shape, broccoli is susceptible to caterpillars, dirt, and other foreign objects, so it should not be washed under running water. It’s not hard to do it right. Instead of running water, soak it in salted water. “Broccoli is a vegetable that is difficult to clean because of its dense florets,” said Park Young-hee, a researcher at the Food and Nutrition Division of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences. “If you turn the broccoli florets upside down so that they are submerged in salt water and soak them for about 30 minutes, the florets will open and soil, bugs, etc. will escape, making it easier to remove contaminants.”

“No. 1 anti-cancer food”…excellent anti-cancer effects such as uterine and colon cancer

Broccoli Soup [123Rf]

You don’t have to stay away from broccoli. According to the FAO, the average person eats 254 worms in a year, even through mushrooms, and many foods, including broccoli, mushrooms, mini-cabbages, chocolate, and blueberries, contain tiny larvae or bits of worms (such as caterpillar shells) that are often unavoidable.


Eating broccoli is not a problem when it is properly cleaned. In fact, its health benefits are among the “best” of any vegetable. Broccoli has been recognized as one of the superfoods by Time magazine, and is especially known for its anti-cancer properties. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has already ranked broccoli as the number one anti-cancer food. Broccoli contains high levels of sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which are anti-carcinogenic compounds. Several epidemiologic studies have reported that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of colon, breast, uterine, and prostate cancers.

Its superfood status is undoubtedly deserved, as it’s packed with nutrients. It contains antioxidants such as beta-carotene, as well as vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

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