Not only can you freeze broccoli, but you should! One reason to freeze all vegetables, including broccoli, is to preserve its fresh quality and vitamin content. Another reason that many vegetables, including broccoli, or frozen is to kill any worms or insects that might be online or embedded in the vegetable. Certainly, no one relishes the idea of biting into their favorite veggie and finding a worm or caterpillar that has been cooked long with their supper. Nothing is quite as distasteful or unappetizing as finding an insect in your food. Therefore, just follow the following steps and we will show you how to properly prepare your broccoli for freezing.
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- Start out by finding the freshest, highest-quality broccoli available. If you’re going to feed this to your family then of course you want to feed them the best quality food possible. Therefore, we suggest purchasing it at a farmers market or vegetable stand if you aren’t able to go and pick your own. Of course, the best broccoli comes from one’s own garden where you have invested time and effort in growing it and know how it’s been cared for.
- Using a sharp knife, the top florets off of the broccoli bunch leaving only the top stems and stalk remaining.
- With your hands, break up the florets into smaller pieces such as the size that you might like to serve. Retain these florets and place them in a bowl of salted water, let the florets soak for 30 to 40 minutes.
- If you would like to have broccoli stems in your final frozen broccoli mixture, use a paring knife to pare away the outer, fibrous layer of the broccoli stem. You should peel away most if not all of the fibrous outer skin of the broccoli stem. It is completely edible, but most people do not enjoy the sense it can be too stiff. Also, looking at the broccoli stem lengthwise, the farther that you go down the stem the harder and more fibrous the stem tends to be. So, you may only want to use the uppermost part of the broccoli stem.
- Thinly chop the broccoli stem into approximately 1/4 inch slices. If you make them slices too thick, then they may be difficult to chew. Then, place the chopped broccoli stems into the salt water mixture and allow them to soak for 30 to 40 minutes along with the rest of the broccoli.
Once the has soaked in the salt water for at least 30 minutes, you should drain away the salt water and blanche the cut broccoli for approximately 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water. You should not leave the broccoli in the water long enough to actually cook the broccoli. You are simply blanching the broccoli or par boiling the broccoli in order to tenderize it. This blanching process allows for superior freezing since it saturates the broccoli with extra water which is then quickly frozen when the freezing process begins.
After you have Blanche broccoli, use a strainer or colander to remove the broccoli from the boiling water. Then, quickly plunge the broccoli into an ice water bath. This will arrest the cooking process and preserve most of the vitamins as well as provide for superior freezing with less possibility of freezer burn.
Once the broccoli has cooled off due to the ice water bath, you may want to again use the colander to strain the broccoli. Making sure that the broccoli is not warm anymore, you may use a large spoon to fill your desired size of plastic freezer bags. Of course, you should label each of these bags with the word broccoli as well as the date on which you prepared your broccoli. Using this method, your broccoli should last in the freezer for up to 6 to 9 months. But, to ensure freshness and prevent freezer burn, we do not recommend exceeding six months before eating.