While aphids are harmless removing them from broccoli to avoid eating them is the best idea. For home grown broccoli use a hose outside to clean off the bugs before bringing them into your kitchen. Submerge the broccoli in cold water in your sink for 10 minutes and then rinse them under cold running water again to remove any remaining aphids.
This article will explore how aphids get on broccoli, how to remove them and the best ways to avoid accidentally eating aphids.
Aphids are a small insect that will suck the sap from the leaves and stems of plants. They excrete a sticky substance which attracts ants and can cause an ant attack in no time. Ladybugs are the natural enemy of aphids so they can swoop in quickly to deal with the problem.
Depending on how many aphids there are, ladybugs may not be able to eat them all so removing them on your own might be the only way.
How to remove aphids from broccoli
There are many easy ways to remove aphids from broccoli whether it is home grown or bought from an organic store. Check out the ways to remove aphids instead of eating them
A hose outside
After picking broccoli from your home grown bush there may be some aphids hiding in among the stems. If you grow broccoli organically there is a chance that bugs are hiding out where you can’t see them.
To easily remove the aphids, grab your hose with a sprayer nozzle and with the shower or jet setting, spray all areas of the broccoli head you have just picked outside before bringing it into your kitchen.
Submerge in cold clean water for 10 minutes
Once you have picked the broccoli, bring it into your kitchen and submerge it into clean water for 10 minutes. Fill the sink with cold tap water and dunk the heads into the water. Keep them submerged by placing a saucepan lid over the top for the 10 minute time.
Cut the broccoli heads into smaller pieces to make sure water gets into all spaces and the aphids can float to the top.
Drain the water and let the aphids escape down the sink.
After soaking the broccoli in the cold water, rinse the pieces again under cold running water. Place it in a sieve to allow it to wash and let the aphid to run through. You will be able to see the broccoli clearly to see if there are any bugs left.
The process can be repeated if you see more aphids. Let the broccoli soak in the water again and wash the bugs down the sink.
Home grown broccoli with aphids
Home grown broccoli which is grown organically can end up with aphids on the main head or side sprouts. Growing organically is a great idea and the balance of insects can be maintained by allowing ladybugs to naturally come and eat the aphids.
Washing the broccoli outdoors with the hose before bringing it inside will reduce the amount of aphids that come into your kitchen.
Prevent aphids by using row covers on broccoli
Broccoli rows can be covered with insect mesh to prevent them from flying in and landing on the broccoli plant in the first place. Commercial broccoli growers will often use this netting if they are growing organically and want to keep aphids off of the plant.
Organic grocery store broccoli
Organic broccoli from grocery stores can come with a few unexpected guests. Aphids can be packed with the broccoli heads which is an indicator that they are actually organic.
Washing the aphids off before cooking is the best way otherwise they will very difficult to remove. Avoid eating aphids because…well it is kind of gross having bugs floating around in your food.
Aphids look like small green or brown bugs. They are tiny and have small, thin legs and will float up in the water when submerged. Wash the broccoli around with your hands to get them out from between the stems.
How do aphids get on broccoli
Aphids have wings so can fly in and out of your yard to visit your broccoli plants. They will often be living in the neighborhood looking for tasty broccoli to land on and devour. Planting broccoli in among other plants or ‘interplanting’ is a good way to disguise your broccoli plants.
This year I had planted the broccoli plants in among my flower beds and there was no aphid attack at all. I had ran out of space so planted seedlings next to some daisies and gaura. The broccoli grew well, producing heads in around 6 weeks and they were completely avoided by aphids.
Can I eat aphids on broccoli? | Summary
Eating aphids on broccoli is something I would always avoid. Washing organically grown broccoli is so important to avoid having aphids floating around in your food. Cold water is all you need to get rid of them with both soaking and washing them off being the easiest solutions.
Keeping broccoli plants healthy is another great way to avoid aphids in your food. Aphids will do little damage to a broccoli head but can end up in your food if you don’t wash them off.
Planting a decoy like Nasturtiums is also a great idea and can attract aphids away from your broccoli plants and into an out of the way area of your garden.