So you bought or grew too much broccoli and you know you’ll never use it up in time. It’s your freezer to the rescue! Broccoli can easily be frozen and its healthy fiber and nutrients preserved for enjoying at a later date. The best part? The process is actually really simple. Here’s how:
Also learn about 13 foods you should never freeze.
Selecting the best broccoli
Broccoli is a cool-weather crop. While any head can be frozen using this method, the tastiest results come when you freeze the ripest, freshest heats. Choose fresh broccoli at the market or at the store in early summer or mid-to-late fall. Or, even better, grow your own! Look for heads that are dense and firm. If buds are showing a hint of opening, opt for another.
Prepare broccoli heads
Remove any leaves and chop off any tough, woody stalks. You can also use a vegetable peeler to scrape off tough outer skin.
Blanch your broccoli
While it might be easier to just toss your broccoli in a bag directly into the freezer, blanching it first will result in fresher tasting, better looking, and more nutritious broccoli come time to use it. Quickly cooking and stopping that cooking (exactly what blanching is) brightens the vegetable’s color and slows down its loss of vitamins and nutrients. Plus, blanching will kill any unwanted caterpillars or worms hiding in your broccoli head.
Step 1: To blanch, let your prepared broccoli soak in cold, salted water for 30 minutes. Jostle it around a bit to remove dirt and bugs. Remove from cold water and rinse under running cold water.
Step 2: Cut the broccoli into similarity-sized sections (as best as possible), so they cook evenly.
Step 3: Fill a large pot or clean sink with ice and water. This will serve as your bath to stop the cooking processes.
Step 4: Bring a large, deep pot of water to a full rolling boil. Immerse broccoli (about 1 head at a time). Blanch (cook) for 3 minutes (time starts as soon as water beings to boil again).
Step 5: Once broccoli has blanched for 3 minutes on rolling boil, remove from heat and quickly immerse broccoli in prepared cold water bath. Let it rest there until cool.
Step 6: Once cool, drain well and pat dry. Broccoli is now ready to be packed and frozen in zip-top freezer bags or freezer containers. Be sure to label bag or container with the date prepared before storing away in freezer. Be sure to rotate the items in your freezer so you’re using older items first and reducing food waste.
How to use frozen broccoli
Frozen, blanched broccoli can be used in any recipe that calls for cooked broccoli, such as this Broccoli Chicken Divan Casserole, broccoli cheese casserole, or broccoli bisque.
Also see, How to freeze asparagus.