Fresh broccoli harvested from the garden in abundant amounts can easily be preserved for months ahead by simply freezing it. However, there are essential steps you must take in order to freezer broccoli properly in order to retain its fresh summery taste.
Harvest Crisp Damage Free Broccoli from the Garden
The best type of broccoli to freeze is fresh crisp broccoli harvested from the garden without any rotting. Freezing broccoli with any sort of rot damage can cause spoilage of the vegetable quickly and cause bacteria to grow, which can cause food poisoning in you once you defrost the vegetable and eat it.
Kill the Insects on the Broccoli
Once you have harvested fresh crisp healthy broccoli from the garden you must kill the insects on them, which are typically tiny little green worms. You do this by filling up a large bowl with water and adding in about a teaspoon of sea salt. Then, you place the broccoli into the salty water for a good 30 minutes to help kill the insects, which will eventually fall to the bottom of the salty water bowl. After, take the broccoli out of the salty water and lay it flat on a sheet of paper towel to dry off a bit.
Chop up the Broccoli
Next, it is time to place the broccoli onto a cutting board and chop it up into little bite size broccoli trees. However, do not cut too much of the stem off because this is essential for holding the little broccoli crowns together during the blanching, freezing and cooking process.
Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Licht
Blanch the Broccoli
Once your broccoli is all chopped up, it is time to place it into a boiling pot of water for a minute to blanch it. Do not blanch the broccoli for more than a minute because you will end up cooking it, which will make it no good to freeze.
After the blanching step, it is time to strain the water from the broccoli and place the broccoli immediately into a bowl of icy water to stop the blanching process. You will leave the broccoli in the ice-cold water for at least 5 minutes. Next, you will remove the broccoli from the icy cold bath into a strainer and allow the extra water to drip off them.
Time to Begin the Freezing Process
Next, you will take your broccoli and lay it flat out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Then, you will place the broccoli into the freezer this way to freezer for about an hour. This will prevent the broccoli chunks from sticking together when you go to store them in freezer bags or containers.
Storing the Broccoli Away
Once the broccoli is frozen on the cookie sheets, you can remove it from the freezer and place the chopped up frozen broccoli into freezer bags or containers and place them back into the freezer to keep fresh for about a year this way.
Defrosting the Broccoli
Anytime you want to eat up the frost broccoli you simply skip the defrosting step and simply place them into a vegetable steamer and steam them up until they are fork tender. After, you can serve them up with a cheese sauce, fresh herbs and spices, butter or simply eat them as they are.
End Notes to Keep in Mind
Freezing broccoli will change the texture and water content it contains so you will not be able to defrost it and eat it raw. The only way you will not notice the texture change is by steaming the previously frozen broccoli up and eating it up afterwards. You can also toss it into soups, stews, pot pies, casserole dishes and still have the broccoli taste just fine. It is just not tasty raw served on a platter with vegetable dips or dressings.