I've seen advice to drop homegrown broccoli in a pot of salted water for a while so the bugs come out.

What's the right salt:water ratio and how long should I soak?

  • 1
    Gross, just gross. :)
    – hobodave
    Jul 26 '10 at 18:07
  • 2
    @hobodave - It's not that gross... think about what they might be doing to grocery store broccoli to keep the bugs off.
    – bstpierre
    Aug 12 '10 at 1:19

The only number I've ever heard was 4-6 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water, but that's just something a friend told me, they might've made it up. I've never actually seen any bugs on broccoli - organic or otherwise - so when I wash it I usually just shake in about 1/2 tsp into the bowl.

EDIT: Here's a site that says 1 tsp per quart.


Ah... I remember doing this growing up. Usually used a small handful of table salt in a sink full of water, and the worms would be floating on the top after about 5-10 minutes.

Most of the worms.

Sorry I can't give you a more precise ratio; I actually suspect soaking in water does more good than the salt - the worms don't swim.

At least, most of them don't.

  • Re: most - Extra protein!
    – ceejayoz
    Jul 20 '10 at 12:46

It doesn't matter. Salt is cheap, throw a good handful in. Broccoli won't absorb salt, so any brine will remain on the surface. Just rinse it off.

I've found the same with eggplant -- it's impossible to oversalt if you rinse it off.


1 tsp to 1 quart water for five minutes. Do not over-salt as the bugs just roll into balls and don't come out at all. But if you salt lightly, they are lightly irritated and float to the surface.

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