Are you trying to figure if you can freeze broccoli and if so, what is the best way to do it?
Well, you are definitely in the right place.
Below, I provide step-by-step instructions, showing you the right way to prepare broccoli for freezing, as well as important information you will find to be very useful.
So, let us get right into it.
Can You Freeze Broccoli: Is This Something You Should Be Doing?
Quick Answer: Yes, you can freeze broccoli.
Once it is prepared and packaged properly for storage in the freezer, you should be able to store it indefinitely.
How Long Does Frozen Broccoli Last in the Freezer?
As we stated above, you will be able to store frozen broccoli indefinitely in the freezer.
However, according to Stilltasty.com, it is best to use broccoli that’s been in the freezer between 12 to 18 months.
This ensures that it maintains the best quality and freshness.
Why Freezing Broccoli is a Good Idea?
By freezing broccoli, you have the ability to extend the life of the vegetable, especially if you weren’t planning on using it right away and it would be sitting the refrigerator for a couple days.
While freezing is a great way to reduce food waste, there are a couple more reasons why you should be looking to store broccoli in the freezer.
We take a look at some below:
- Always Have Some on Hand
- Saves Time
- Saves Money
Always Have Some on Hand: By having broccoli stored in the freezer, you will always have some on hand when you need it.
You do not have to worry about running to the grocery store to pick up some for dinner, as you can always take some from your frozen storage, reheat it and have it perfect and ready for dinner.
If you are making a sir-fry or casserole, you can toss a couple frozen crowns into the dish, without ne
Saves Time: If you ask any chef or home cook what is one of the biggest annoyances when cooking, many would say that it is the food preparation.
You will be able to save cooking time if you have individual portions of broccoli ready to be used at a drop of a dime.
Just take out, warm up and you are good to go, with that portion of dinner.
Saves Money: Have you ever seen broccoli on sale, but you didn’t purchase, because it was too much to be used at one time?
Well, by freezing this vegetable, it allows you to pick up as much as you want, when there are sales or it is the peak season.
You do not have to worry about the excess spoiling, as you can throw it in the freezer and pull it out, when you are ready to use it.
Related: How to Freeze Jalapenos
How to Freeze Broccoli Properly: A Step-by-Step Guide
Freezing broccoli is pretty easy, once you prepare it properly for storage.
Before we get into the freezing instructions, I know some of you may want to know:
Can You Freeze Raw Broccoli as Opposed to Blanching It?
Take it from me, I had to learn the hard way. Putting raw broccoli in the freezer changes the color and texture drastically.
It is basically inedible as it is soft, chewy and utterly disgusting.
If you use the instructions below, you can’t go wrong in freezing this vegetable.
Below are the detailed instructions you should follow, when you want to freeze broccoli properly.
Step 1: Pick Fresh Broccoli
When picking heads of broccoli for freezing, it is important that you get ones that are firm, crisp and fresh.
You are going to want heads that are not yellowing or open too much.
The fresher, the better, as this will give you the best results when frozen as opposed to old broccoli that will taste disgusting when stored in the freezer.
Step 2: Prep
You will now prepare the broccoli for washing and then freezing.
Split the head of the vegetable into small florets.
Remove the tough exterior from the stalks. You can use a vegetable peeler to make things easiers.
You can also remove the thick stems if you do not plan on using them.
Step 3: Wash
It is very important that you wash your broccoli before blanching.
The vegetable is grown outdoors, where it comes in contact with a variety of contaminants (dirt, chemicals, bacteria and insects).
You want to ensure that you remove them before blanching and freezing.
Read our detailed guide on how to wash broccoli properly.
Before washing, you are going to soak the broccoli in a brine. This brine mixture is 4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon of water.
Let the broccoli soak for 30 minutes, swish it around to remove any contaminants that may be present.
Rinse thoroughly under running cold water from the kitchen faucet.
Step 4: Blanch The Broccoli
To effectively freeze broccoli, you will need to blanch it before it goes into the freezer.
There are enzymes and bacteria found in all fruits and vegetables. By blanching, you are effectively able to stop the enzyme actions which otherwise cause loss of flavor, color and texture.
You shouldn’t freeze raw broccoli, as it will come be shriveled, dark and bitter. Blanching helps gives it a bright green color and retains its flavor.
The two ways to blanch broccoli are:
Blanching – Boiling Water
Put on a pot of water and allow it to come to a full boil.
Take a pound of broccoli at a time and place it into the boiling water.
The water should return to a boil in about 1 minute.
Begin counting the blanching time as once the water returns to a boil.
Blanch for 3 minutes
Blanching – Steam
Fill a pot with about 2-3 inches of water.
Bring the water to a boil.
Place the broccoli in steaming or wire basket and insert in the pot.
Allow the broccoli to steam for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Cool Down with an Ice Bath
Immediately after you have blanched the broccoli, you are going to place it in an ice bath.
The reason why you quickly plunge into the ice water, is that it “shocks” the broccoli and this will help to prevent it from overcooking.
It is best to keep your blanched broccoli in the in the ice water, from the same amount of time you boiled (3 minutes) or steamed (5 minutes).
Once cooled, you should remove from the ice bath, drain and dry properly.
You can use a vegetable spinner to dry quickly or paper towels to soak up the excess moisture.
When thoroughly dried, you are going to move to freezing.
Step 5: Pack for the Freezer
Once you blanched, washed and dried your broccoli, it is now ready to be packaged for the freezer.
To do this, follow these steps below:
- Place parchment paper on a baking sheet/tray or plate and lay the broccoli in a single layer.
- Take the tray/plate and place in the freezer until the vegetable is completely solid. This should take about 1 to 2 hours.
- Once frozen, you will now place the broccoli in a freezer safe container/bag.
- Label the bag/container with the date and place in the freezer.
- If it is properly packaged, it should stay fresh for about 12 to 18 months.
Using/Thawing Frozen Broccoli
When you’re ready to use your broccoli that has been sitting in the freezer, you will have to heat it up.
Before we get into showing your how, I know some of you may be wondering if it is possible to thaw frozen broccoli?
While you can defrost the vegetable, there is a good chance that it will come out soggy and mushy. It is best to reheat for a couple seconds, as you are sure that the broccoli will be able to retain its taste and crunch.
Cooking Frozen Broccoli
Blanched frozen broccoli can be used directly out of the freezer without defrosting it, seeing as it has already been pre-cooked.
To warm it up right out of the freezer, you can either steam or boil it.
Whether you are steaming or boiling, you are going to let it sit in the pot for around 60 to 90 seconds
Frozen broccoli can also be added to a skillet of butter or virgin olive oil, where it can be sautéed until it is warmed up.
Frozen, blanched broccoli is perfect to use in recipes that call for cooked broccoli, such as sir fry, soups, casseroles, pastas, sauces and more.
Wrapping it up
Now that we have reached the end of the article, you should have a pretty good idea of how to properly freeze broccoli.
I am however a bit curious.
I want to know if there was any information that stood out for you and if you will be using the process above to freeze broccoli from now on?
You can tell me your thoughts, by leaving a comment below.