Can you freeze broccoli so you can use it for later? The answer is yes! It is an easy and great way to stock your vegetable and minimize food wastage. Freezing broccoli also allows you to keep it fresh and at its prime while also preserving its nutritional value, making it as good as the fresh ones. Now you can visit the nearby farmers’ market and avail a month’s supply with this step-by-step guide on how to freeze broccoli to lengthen its shelflife.
How to Freeze Broccoli
Step 1: Clean and Cut the Broccoli
Knowing how to wash your broccoli is important to ensure that your produce is clean and insect-free. Now, how to clean the broccoli? You can simply do so by holding it under running water while you carefully spread each floret apart, allowing the water to clean the crevices. Some also opt to submerge the broccoli head in a gallon of water with salt.
But, just like in the video above, you can also cut your broccoli first before cleaning it. Here’s how:
- Cut the broccoli head. It’ll be better if you cut them into uniform-sized florets.
- Using a vegetable peeler or a knife, peel the tough outer layer of the stem and remove the ends.
- Slice the stalks into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the florets in a bowl of cold water, and gently swirl them to remove any dirt.
Step 2: Blanch the Broccoli
Next, you need to blanch the broccoli. Blanching broccoli is different from boiling broccoli. Blanching is just a quick way of scalding and cooking your vegetable.
Here’s how to blanch your broccoli:
- In a large pot, boil water and add salt. This will help you achieve a bright green and crisp-tender broccoli once thawed.
- The next step is blanching broccoli stems first for 3 minutes.
- Then, add the trimmed broccoli head and cook for another 3 minutes.
- After that, transfer to an ice bath to preserve its color and doneness level.
- Once completely cool, drain well and pat dry using paper towels.
Can I freeze fresh broccoli without blanching?
Can I freeze fresh broccoli without blanching? No, we don’t recommend you freeze fresh broccoli without blanching. Though many are curious to find out how to freeze fresh broccoli, it is good to know that to preserve this vegetable, it is a must to blanch them first before freezing them. Directly freezing them raw will make your broccoli bitter, dull, and wilted.
Step 3: Store the Broccoli in the Freezer
Now, understanding how to store broccoli inside your freezer and how long its shelflife is important to ensure that you are keeping and consuming fresh produce. Just follow these quick steps:
- Place your prepared broccoli in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined tray.
- Cover it with cling wrap before placing it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours.
- Once frozen, transfer your frozen broccoli to freezer containers before returning them to the freezer.
How long does broccoli last in the fridge? Your frozen broccoli can last for 6 to 8 months as long as it stays inside the freezer.
- Labeling your containers is a nice trick to keep track of goods inside your freezer that you should consume first. On the label, indicate what’s inside the container, the freezing date, and until when it is best to use.
How to Thaw Your Frozen Broccoli
Should you thaw frozen broccoli before cooking? It depends. If you are cooking dishes like casseroles, soups, and pasta, where moisture from the frozen broccoli can be used to your advantage, then no need to thaw your broccoli before using them.
However, if you’re using them as topping for your pizza or an additional ingredient in your salad where moisture will make them soggy, then thawing them before using them is advisable. Here are three ways to thaw your frozen broccoli:
- Transfer the container from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight.
- You can also directly add the frozen broccoli to a skillet with butter and saute until warm.
- Another way is by transferring your frozen broccoli to a pot of boiling salted water for 1 to 2 minutes to thaw and heat it without overcooking. If you are using them as a topping, pat dry your blanched broccoli to remove moisture.
Best Way to Cook Frozen Broccoli
Broccoli is a great vegetable to add to your dish because aside from its nutritional value, it also adds nice color that makes food more appetizing. Here are some frozen broccoli recipes that you can try:
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole – a combination of savory cheese sauce and broccoli that is baked until perfection. A flavorful dish that can be served as an appetizer or side dish.
- Creamy Cheddar Broccoli Soup – a creamy and flavorful soup recipe that is easy to prepare and serve to your guests.
- Stir-fried Broccoli Chicken – a healthy and delicious meal that you can partner with steamed rice or cauliflower rice.
Aside from tossing your frozen broccoli into soups or stir-fry, you can also steam them instead using a bamboo steamer basket! Just load your sliced broccoli in this basket. Place it on a rack on top of a wok with boiling salted water, and let it steam for 5 minutes.