Thanks to its nutritional benefits and quick cooking time, broccoli is a great veggie to have on hand. If you’re a fan of broccoli and want to enjoy your favorite veggie year-round, you must take the time to learn how to freeze broccoli for long-term storage.
But what is the best way to freeze fresh broccoli, anyway? Let’s find out.
How to freeze broccoli
Broccoli freezes well, which means you can easily stock up broccoli for later use. The freezing process preserves the green florets and stems, keeping them fresh and freezer burn-free for up to six to eight months.
Plus, freezing broccoli is super quick and straightforward. Scroll down to take a look at how to freeze fresh broccoli in five simple steps.
1. Choose the right broccoli
The secret to freezing broccoli like a pro is to pick the right vegetables. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is choose the freshest broccoli.
Whether you harvest your own broccoli or buy it at the supermarket, if you plan on freezing your broccoli, look for tight and firm heads.
Observe the florets; If the buds are opening even a bit, it is best to avoid that broccoli head for freezing. This is an essential step because fresh broccoli freezes better. Fresh and ripe heads will give you the tastiest results!
2. Prepare your broccoli
The next step is to prepare the broccoli. This means washing and separating the flowers. Wash your broccoli thoroughly under running water. Prepare a brine solution by mixing 4T salt into one gallon of water. Soak the broccoli in the brine solution for about 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Keep in mind that caterpillars and small bugs like to hide between the florets. Therefore, separating large heads into easy-to-handle sections is always a good idea. Split the broccoli heads into florets of about 1.5 inches. Remove the stem but don’t throw them away. Instead, you can place them in a separate bowl.
3.Blanch or steam the broccoli
Freezing raw broccoli can result in dark and bitter florets and stems. Therefore, cooking broccoli before freezing is an integral part of freezing broccoli. You can either blanch the broccoli in boiling water for around three minutes or steam it in a steamer for five to six minutes.Meanwhile, prepare a cool bath and cool the veggies in it right after blanching or steaming. Try to remove as much moisture as you can before freezing broccoli. One way to dry your broccoli is to spread it on a dry towel and bolt dry. However, time is essential here. Work as quickly as possible and move on to steaming.
4. Freeze the florets and stems
Spread broccoli on a parchment-line freezer tray and freeze in the freezer. Once the vegetables are frozen solid, move them into freezer-safe plastic bags. Make sure you freeze broccoli florets and stems separately.
Using frozen broccoli
Keep in mind that thawed broccoli lacks the crunchy snap of fresh broccoli. However, it can be used the same way as the fresh thing. You can add it to pasta, quiche, salad, stir fry, or other broccoli recipes.
Stems, on the other hand, are more suitable to be used in stews and soups.
How to defrost broccoli
Frozen broccoli is easy to use. Steam or boil frozen florets and stems for around 60 to 90 seconds. You can also toss frozen florets directly into the pot.
Tips from the pros
Here are some tips and tricks on how to freeze broccoli the right way!
- After bagging, shift the broccoli around to make the bag as flat as possible. Doing so will help your broccoli freeze quickly.
- There’s another way to freeze florets: Pack them directly into a freezer bag and freeze! This method is more suitable when the broccoli has a substantial amount of water in it. It is not ideal for storing stems.
- Make sure you do not overcook your broccoli before storing it, or it can turn into mush. It’s better to leave your broccoli a bit undercooked than overcook it!
The bottom line
Frozen broccoli is convenient. It is an excellent way of adding some green vegetables to your daily diet without putting in extra effort every day. Now that you’re already equipped with how to freeze and defrost broccoli like a pro, you can stock up and enjoy your favorite nutrition-packed greens all around the year!
- Brine solution
- Dry towel
- Parchment-line freezer tray
- Choose the right broccoli
- Prepare the broccoli
- Blanch or steam the broccoli
- Freeze the florets and stems