Did you get an above average harvest of broccoli this season? Maybe you found a killer produce sale. Whatever reason, what do you do when you have an over abundance of broccoli? You learn how to freeze broccoli, of course!
If you already know how to freeze yellow squash and zucchini, then this method will be pretty familiar. If you have not tried your hand at freezing, you're in luck because it is super easy. Welcome to the world of freezing vegetables!
How To Freeze Broccoli
So, you decided to grow broccoli this season and you had WAAAAY more success than you expected. What do you do?
You do what we recommend for almost every bit of food that could potentially go to waste; you freeze it!
First things first, gather up your broccoli and prepare it for washing. We like to use a colander to allow the water to flow over the broccoli and not pool in the bottom of a bowl.
You can also run the water directly over the broccoli but we find the colander method to be much easier, quicker, and effective.
Break you broccoli head into smaller florets (just like you do when freezing cauliflower) and place them into your colander. Then just run water over them, gently moving the colander from side to side and tossing the florets to turn them over.
Now that your broccoli is clean, we will learn how to blanch broccoli for freezing. What is blanching? Blanching is the process of heating your broccoli to destroy the enzymes that cause vegetables to continue the decaying process even while frozen.
Blanching is really easy and makes your frozen vegetables taste better for much longer. To blanch you will need to bring a stock pot of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, simply put your broccoli into the boiling water.
Set your kitchen timer for about 3 minutes. You want your broccoli still crisp but not soggy. You may need to adjust this time.
While your broccoli is boiling, prepare a large bowl of ice water. When your time goes off, pull your broccoli out of the boiling water and immediately put into the ice water bath. The reason you do this is to stop the cooking process as soon as possible.
Can I freeze broccoli without blanching?
You can simply stick a head of broccoli into the freezer and call it a day. The problem with doing this is due to a enzymes that many vegetables contain.
These enzymes cause the vegetable to essentially still age even while frozen. So, while you can freeze broccoli without blanching, it is not advised. Your broccoli will change in color, texture, taste, and quality rather quickly without blanching.
With blanching your broccoli should stay high quality in your freezer for up to a year. Of course, always follow FDA guidelines when preserving your own food.
Once your broccoli has sufficiently cooled in the ice bath, it's time to get it ready for freezing.
If you are cooking for a family, you can always use the gallon size freezer bags. Just scoop whichever portion you decide and put them in the baggies.
After you have your bags filled, flatten them out. This removes all of the air and excess water and cuts down on freezer burn. Flattening them also makes them easier to stack in the freezer.
How do you store broccoli in the freezer? You don't need to do anything else special to store them. Simply find a space and put them in the freezer. They will typically freeze in an hour or 2.
Is frozen broccoli good for you?
There is a popular belief that states that fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than frozen. This is a myth. In fact, produce is typically preserved when it is most ripe. So, yes, frozen broccoli is healthy for you. You can now end the fresh vs frozen debate in your mind!
Should you thaw broccoli before cooking?
It depends on what you need it for. If you want a snack, you will probably want to. If you're adding it to a smoothie, it's not necessary.
To thaw, you just need to put it in the fridge over night. You can also heat it on the stovetop, in the microwave, or put it in a casserole or some other dish.
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