What Are Stem Vegetables?

Stem vegetables are plants in which the above-the- ground stems, shoots or stalks are used for food. These vegetables include asparagus, broccoli and celery, cultivated for their stalks, as are the stems of kohlrabi.

Rhubarb is also a stem vegetable in which the bitter leave tops are discarded and the stems used in pies and jams. Other popular stem vegetables include fennel, cardoon and Swiss chard. Some wild plants such as thistles and wild mustard, also have edible stems that are best eaten when the plants are still young and the stems are not woody.

Stem vegetables are used in a wide variety of dishes such as soup stocks and pastas. They can also be steamed and served with butter or olive oil.