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This Mom's Broccoli Hack Could Save You Money at The Grocery Store—But It's Also Possibly Illegal

The Florida woman recommends cutting the stems off of broccoli before paying.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

In a new viral video, one Florida woman is refusing to pay for food she's not going to eat, and the broccoli hack could save you money at the grocery store… although it is controversial and possibly illegal.

A mom with the TikTok screen name MimiCarter81 shared a video of her hack: she chops off broccoli stalks before paying for the vegetables. "When I was in the store, these stems were about that long," she said in her video, indicating broccoli stems of about six inches. "So sometimes when they're that long, you can just break them off." She pulled out more broccoli from her shopping bag. "Or you can just cut them." 

The mom then pulled a knife from the waistband of her pants and sliced off a stem for demonstration. "We're done." As for the stems? "I just leave these in the store. I don't need it. Ya'll can have it." She wiped her hands together. "I wash my hands of it….I am only going to pay for what I am going to eat." The video has almost 5 million views so far.

The hack, while it could save you money, generated controversy online. Read on to hear more about it, the benefits of broccoli and other ways to save money while shopping.

Although it Could Save You Money at the Grocery Store, Commenters Poked Fun at The Hack


The mom's idea, while humorous, could also be described as unethical at best. "Karen 101," said one commenter."

"Do you remove the core of apples, too," asked another. 

"Do you peel the bananas too?" said a third.

"Saved a whole 5 cents there. Nice work!" another added.

"Just throw the stalks back in there for everyone else to wade through and some employee to clean up," said another.

"No matter — as long as you save your 12 cents." Others online noted that the stem is, in fact, edible.

This Hack Could Get You Into Trouble


In some areas, like Australia, disassembling food before paying for it could be classified as theft, and it's most certainly against store policy. "It's disappointing to hear a small number of customers have removed the stalks from broccoli in our stores as the entire vegetable is edible and full of nutritional value," Australian grocery store chain Coles said recently in a statement, according to Honey Kitchen.

"As part of our Together to Zero strategy, we will continue to work on ways to minimise food waste by educating customers about how to get the most out of their fresh produce. A great example is a recipe by Curtis Stone that heroes shaved broccoli stalk as a main ingredient."

You Can Indeed Eat the Broccoli Stem


It's true, you can cook the broccoli stem. We recommend saving it for long cooking soups, in our guide to steaming broccoli. In fact, broccoli is also a versatile food that can be added to a variety of dishes. It can be steamed, roasted, or added to soups and stews. It can also be eaten raw, either as a snack or as part of a salad.

Broccoli stems, like the florets, are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They contain some of the same antioxidants and fiber as the florets, as well as other beneficial compounds such as sulforaphane, which has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.

In addition to the nutrients mentioned above, broccoli stems are also a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium. Vitamin B6 is important for maintaining healthy brain function and supporting the immune system, while potassium is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and supporting healthy muscle and nerve function.

Broccoli—All if it—Is Great for You and Here's Why


Overall, broccoli is a nutrient-rich food that offers numerous health benefits. Adding it to your diet can help to support your immune system, promote digestive health, and protect against chronic diseases. It is a type of cruciferous vegetable that is packed with nutrients and has numerous health benefits. It is a rich source of vitamins C and K, as well as dietary fiber and several other important nutrients. Just a few of the top health benefits of broccoli include:

  1. Broccoli is high in antioxidants. These molecules help to protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  2. Broccoli is a great source of fiber. Just one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 5 grams of fiber, which is about 20% of the recommended daily intake. This fiber can help to promote regular bowel movements, prevent constipation, and keep your digestive system healthy.
  3. Broccoli is high in vitamin C. This important vitamin helps to support the immune system and protect the body from illness and infection. Just one cup of cooked broccoli contains more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
  4. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K. This vitamin is important for maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis. It also plays a role in blood clotting and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Safer Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store


Saving money at the grocery store is a great way to stretch your budget and make your money go further. Here are some tips to help you save money on your grocery bill:

  1. Make a list. Before you go to the store, take a few minutes to make a list of the items you need. This will help you to stay focused and avoid impulse buys.
  2. Compare prices. Take the time to compare prices on the items on your list. Look for sales and specials, and consider purchasing store brands or generic items instead of name brands, as they can often be just as good but cost less.
  3. Use coupons. Coupons can be a great way to save money on groceries. Look for coupons in the Sunday paper, on manufacturer websites, and in-store flyers. Also, be sure to check the store's app for digital coupons that you can use.
  4. Buy in bulk. If you have the storage space, buying in bulk can be a great way to save money on items that you use frequently. Just be sure to check the price per unit to make sure you are getting a good deal.
  5. Shop at multiple stores. Different stores often have different prices on the same items. By shopping at multiple stores, you can take advantage of the best prices and save money.
Alek Korab
Alek Korab is Founding Editor of Body Network Read more about Alek