My typical way to cook broccoli rabe is to saute it in olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes and then eat it just above room temp. While I don't mind the bitter taste others do. I had it out and sometimes it's not bitter at all other times it is similar. Is there a technique to reducing the bitterness?


1 Answer 1


Broccoli rabe are hard to grow without turning bitter, and this is why in general they are not that popular

Like most vegetables you can reduce bitterness by soaking or cooking in milk, or by adding a small amount of lime (Calcium hydroxide) to the blanching/cooking water

See What counters astringency?

  • Is it something in the soil (mineral?) that either adds or reduces the bitterness?
    – John Dyer
    May 7, 2013 at 20:46
  • @John Dyer No idea. Some veges get bitter due to incorrect growing conditions (too much light, too much water, or in the ground too long )or incorrect storage (too much light, to much moisture)
    – TFD
    May 7, 2013 at 21:43
  • This unverified source claims that soil pH affects the time it takes for brassicas (like broccoli rabe) to mature.
    – Kaya
    May 7, 2013 at 21:43
  • @JohnDyer brassicas are bitter "by design", even though the bitterness has been selectively bread out of most modern varieties. If the growing conditions have something to do with the bitterness, the influence will probably be much weaker than that of the plant's genes.
    – rumtscho
    May 8, 2013 at 9:26
  • In my experience, bitterness and astringency are unique experiences.
    – milo
    Apr 18, 2021 at 21:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.