How to Freeze Broccoli?
Although the most common method of preservation has been dehydration for centuries, nowadays you can also learn how to freeze broccoli and other vegetables and fruits to preserve them.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t preserve vegetables and use them later even when they are out of season. Since ancient times, people have been preserving food, fruits, and vegetables for later use.
Among the many seasonal vegetables, broccoli is also quite noticeable. This vegetable is not just tasteful, crunchy but is jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and health benefits. Thanks to its vibrant green color, you get instantly attracted to this vegetable. Try Broccoli Fritters and Broccoli Cheese Casserole.
Can You Freeze Broccoli?
I simply love broccoli, and I can happily eat it each day every day for the rest of my life. But unfortunately, fresh broccoli is not available throughout the season. The peak freshness level is reached from October till April. So, what to do during the rest of the months? The answer is simple, you preserve it! well, of course, we are not going to dehydrate it. in fact, ill tell you how to freeze broccoli so that when you use it, it is just as fresh as it was before you freeze it.
Like every other vegetable, you can easily freeze broccoli. If you follow the right freezing procedure, you will get results that ensure flavor, color, texture, and freshness. The procedure is super simple and it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. you can freeze broccoli is large batches so that you can use it for soups, stir-fries, roasted vegetables, and what not!
Why Should You Freeze Broccoli?
You can easily find frozen broccoli at any grocery store, so why freeze your own? Well, the answer is simple. When you prepare a dish using your own ingredients and with your blood and sweat, the results are better and much more satisfying.
Although frozen broccoli at the grocery store also ensures quality, it can never beat the procedure you follow at home. Plus, every step is carefully monitored by you and if you love to cook, the process gives you happiness and a sense of satisfaction. And above all, frozen broccoli can be expensive as compared to a fresh ones. So, you can save a lot of money when you decide you freeze broccoli at home.
What To Look For When buying broccoli?
The first step to freezing broccoli at home starts with buying the vegetable. Get your hands on the vegetable when it is at its peak. This is when you will get fresh, vibrant, and perfect vegetables. Look for broccoli that is firm to touch. The color should be vibrant, fresh, and green. Ignore the ones that have brown patches on them. Moreover, the individual buds should be tight and if you see them opened, don’t choose that one. It is best to purchase organic broccoli.
Tools For Freezing Broccoli
- Large Pot
- Cutting Board
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Freezer Bag or Container
How To Freeze Broccoli?
Here are a few simple steps that you should follow to freeze broccoli to perfection:
1. Cutting and breaking
The first step is cutting the large stems and separating the crown of broccoli. The crown will have smaller florets that you are going to work with. If you like to freeze the stem as well, peel its skin off and cut it into smaller pieces. Next, break down the crown into florets. This step is crucial as this way you can expose small caterpillars hiding inside the crown. Furthermore, this step ensures easy cleaning.
2. Washing and draining
Once you have cut and broken down the broccoli head, next you have to wash it in a sieve. Wash a few times to get rid of the dirt and debris. Spend some time to work on this step so that you can enjoy the vegetable later without getting dirt in your mouth. Trust me it won’t be pleasant at all. Drain the vegetable to get rid of excess water.
This is the most crucial step of all. You can blanch the broccoli using two ways i.e., boiling in water or steaming.
- For blanching the prepared broccoli, you have to heat water in a pot. once the water reaches boiling point, add the broccoli stems and florets and let it boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. drain the broccoli.
- If you wish to steam blanch broccoli, you can do that by boiling about 2 to 3 cups of water in a large pot. once the water starts to boil, place a basket in it and place broccoli in the basket. place the lid and let it steam for about 5 minutes. once the time is up removing the broccoli pieces and florets from the basket.
4. Ice bath
Put it in ice water instantly. Let it sit in ice water for about a minute or two. This way the broccoli will stop cooking immediately and it will stay crunchy and firm.
Next, drain the broccoli and place it on a clean kitchen towel so that the cloth soaks up excess water and the vegetable gets dry.
6. Flash freeze
Prepare the baking tray by lining it with parchment paper. Place the dried broccoli pieces and florets on the baking tray. Make sure they don’t overlap each other. Place the baking tray in a freezer for about three hours.
Lastly, remove the baking tray from the freezer, place the broccoli stems in a zip lock plastic or freezer bag. write the date on the plastic bag, seal the bag and place it in the freezer. The vegetable will stay good for about 6 to 9 months.
Can You Freeze Broccoli Without Blanching?
Although blanching broccoli is super easy, most people are either busy or don’t find the whole blanching process convenient. In such a case, they freeze broccoli without blanching it. if you plan on doing so, here are a few things you should remember:
- Blanching or no blanching, you will still need to cut the stem, break down the florets and wash the broccoli thoroughly.
- Also, we will need to dry the washed broccoli to get rid of excess water.
- When you freeze broccoli without blanching, remember that the quality won’t be as good as blanched broccoli. It will be rather soggy. Also, the color won’t stay fresh as well.
- Freezing broccoli without blanching won’t have a longer shelf life. and there are high chances that the vegetable will develop a bad odor. So, the quality will be compromised hugely.
Benefits Of Blanching Broccoli
There is a reason why people prefer to take some pain into blanching the vegetable before freezing it. if you are still wondering the reason behind it, here are a few benefits of blanching broccoli:
- By blanching, you are partially cooking the vegetable.
- Blanching stores the action of enzymes in the vegetable that causes the loss of texture, color or flavor. As a result, the vegetable stays fresh, flavorful, and crunchy for longer.
- It also preserves vitamins, and minerals in the vegetable and retain them.
How To Thaw Frozen Broccoli?
There are several ways you can thaw frozen broccoli. Here are a few:
- If you plan to use frozen broccoli in your meal, the next day, take the frozen broccoli out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight. This way, it will thaw slowly and the texture own get lost.
- You can also place it at room temperature for about 4 to 6 hours until it is thawed completely.
- If you are in a hurry, the best way to thaw frozen broccoli is by placing it in boiling salt water for about 2 minutes. the result will be perfectly thawed broccoli. Furthermore, the broccoli also gets tender which reduces its cooking time as well.
- Place the frozen broccoli in the pan, add a splash of water, place the lid and let it cook at medium heat until it gets tender. Then season the vegetable or sauté it in oil. Cook it just the way you want and it will be perfectly thawed.
The beauty of frozen broccoli is that you can use it in any way you like. You can handle frozen broccoli just as you handle fresh one and add it to any dish. the result will be perfect and you won’t be disappointed at all. In fact, you won’t be able to tell the difference between fresh or frozen broccoli! That’s for sure! So, what are you waiting for? Try this method today and enjoy broccoli throughout the year!
Vegan Broccoli Recipes
- Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Tofu Broccoli Skillet
- Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Broccoli Hummus
- Roasted Sweet Potato Broccoli Salad
- Curry Quinoa Broccoli Recipe
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- Energy: 19 kcal / 79 kJ
- Fat: 0.2 g
- Protein: 1.6 g
- Carbs: 3.8 g
- Preparation: 15 min
- Cooking: 2 min
- Ready in: 17 min
- For: 6
- Remove leaves, discard. Cut off the stems from the broccoli crown, set them aside.
- Cut or break off the florets into bite-size pieces. Peel the stem and cut into small pieces as well.
- Wash broccoli florets, stems and drain using a colander.
- Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot on medium-high heat. In the meanwhile set up an ice bath and set it aside.
- Add broccoli and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove immediately, drain and submerge into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drain broccoli florets, pat dry with a clean towel.
- Place florets and stems on the baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for about 3 hours or overnight.
- Remove the tray from the freezer and place broccoli in a ziplock bag or other freezer-safe container.
- Freeze for up to 9 months.