If you're a fan of broccoli, did you know you can preserve the nutrition and freshness if you freeze broccoli? This cruciferous vegetable related to kale, cabbage, and cauliflower possesses tremendous health benefits. It's rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. Broccoli also has more protein than most other vegetables.
The problem is though, it can lose the freshness and taste quite fast, along with the nutrients. In this case, you can freeze broccoli without losing the freshness and wellness. This can come in handy if you bought too much or want to stock up when you can't go grocery shopping often. There are several steps to follow if you want to do this right. Let's look at what they are.
Step 1: Wash and trim
Before anything, you need to make sure your broccoli is washed and trimmed properly. To begin, you should cut the crowns into florets. Make sure these are quite even in size. Next, submerge these in cold water, preferably in a large bowl. Wash them thoroughly so that no dirt and debris, or even small insects are completely washed off. Do not throw away the stems, trim and peel them to freeze alongside the florets.
Step 2: Blanch
This part is important as blanching is what helps the broccoli stay fresh and green. First, get a large bowl and fill it up with ice water. You will need a large pot of salted water too. Put it to boil. Now comes the tricky part. Take a batch of your trimmed broccoli and add them to the boiling water. Cook until they look bright green and feel crisp and tender, which usually takes about 3 minutes. Take them out using a slotted spoon and immediately put them into the ice water. Once the broccoli is completely cool, take them out. Pat dry with paper towels. What happens when you blanch broccoli is you shock them with the immediate change of temperature that can freeze broccoli into freshness.
Step 2 (alternative method): Steam
If blanching is not the method for you, the alternative way is to steam the broccoli. Get a large pot with a steamer basket insert. Pour a few inches of water, then place the basket on top. Simmer the water under medium-high heat and add the trimmed broccoli. Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook until bright green and tender. This can take up to 5 minutes. Transfer into ice water to free broccoli and pat dry once cooled down.
Step 3: Store and freeze
Once the broccoli is ready to be stored, use a paper-lined tray or plate to store them in your freezer, ideally parchment paper. Make sure you lay the broccoli in a single layer. Once you place this in the freezer, it takes about 1-2 hours to completely freeze broccoli. After this step, you can move them to a plastic container or sealed bag and store them in the refrigerator. This frozen broccoli will stay fresh for 6-8 months inside the freezer.
How to cook frozen broccoli
Now that you know how to freeze broccoli, you might be curious if there's a specific way to cook the frozen broccoli. You can either thaw them, or boil, or even directly add them to a skillet to quickly warm them up. You can also roast them by placing them on a baking tray and drizzling them with some oil. In about 15 minutes, the broccoli will be roasted to the right amount. Microwaving is the easiest way to unfreeze and get the frozen broccoli ready to use.
Now you know how to freeze broccoli in 3 simple steps with zero hassle. You can use this method to freeze other vegetables and keep them fresh for a prolonged time, too. Stay tuned for more insights!
Author of Get Basic Idea – The knowledge portal