How to Freeze Broccoli

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16-06-2021, 14:30
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Fresh broccoli reaches its peak in mid-summer, but if you freeze it, you can enjoy this healthy green vegetable all year long. Freezing broccoli is an easy process, and you'll find that broccoli you freeze yourself has a much better flavor and texture than the store-bought version. Read on for a guide to freezing broccoli and enjoying it three different ways: boiled, roasted or in broccoli casserole.

Freezing Broccoli

  1. Pick or buy broccoli. Choose broccoli at the peak of broccoli season, in June or July. Look for broccoli with green, tight florets that have not begun to separate or turn yellow. Avoid broccoli with brown spots or bruises.
  2. Rinse the broccoli. Make sure you remove any dirt, bugs or traces of pesticides.
    • If you live in an area where pests or broccoli worms are a problem, prepare a saltwater bath and soak the broccoli for half an hour. This will kill the bugs and cause them to rise to the surface. Discard the saltwater, rinse the broccoli, and proceed.
    • Remove all leaves from the broccoli. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/9\/91\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-2Bullet2.jpg\/v4-460px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-2Bullet2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/9\/91\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-2Bullet2.jpg\/aid85338-v4-728px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-2Bullet2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":306,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":485,"licensing":"<div class=\"mw-parser-output\"><p>License: <a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external text\" href=\"https:\/\/creativecommons.org\/licenses\/by-nc-sa\/3.0\/\">Creative Commons<\/a><br>\n<\/p><p><br \/>\n<\/p><\/div>"}
  3. Cut the broccoli into florets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) across. Slice the lower stem into chunks about ⁄4 inch (0.6 cm) thick - about the thickness of a water chestnut. Discard the woody end of the stem.
  4. Put the broccoli in a bowl and cover it with water. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, stir and let sit for about 5 minutes. Pour the lemon-water into the cooking pot.
  5. Add more water to the pot. Using a steamer basket to measure, add enough water so that the steamer basket will sit about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the water. Remove the steamer basket after checking the water level.
    • If you don't have a steamer basket, just add enough water to cover the amount of broccoli you are processing.
  6. Cover the pot and bring the water to a vigorous boil. Covering the pot with a lid makes the water boil faster and conserves energy.
  7. Place the broccoli into the steamer basket and lower it into the pot. Cover the pot and bring it back to full boil. Once boiling has resumed, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.
    • If you aren't using a steamer basket, place the broccoli directly into the boiling water. Blanch it for two minutes, then remove it using a slotted spoon.
  8. Remove the steamer basket and immediately cool the broccoli. Either place it under cold running water or plunge it into ice water.
    • If you aren't using a steamer basket, transfer the broccoli directly from the pot to a colander, then cool it.
  9. Strain the broccoli. Use the steamer basket or pour the broccoli into a colander. Shake to remove excess water.
  10. Portion the broccoli into plastic freezer bags. Lay flat to freeze.
    • Put enough broccoli in each bag to make a meal for your family. This way you'll be able to defrost exactly as many as you need instead of the entire batch of broccoli. A rough measurement is one handful of florets per serving.
    • If you aren't using a vacuum sealer, close the zippered bag almost all the way. Insert a straw into the opening. Draw out the remaining air through the straw. Withdraw the straw as you finish sealing the bag. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/1\/1e\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet2.jpg\/v4-460px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/1\/1e\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet2.jpg\/aid85338-v4-728px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":306,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":485,"licensing":"<div class=\"mw-parser-output\"><p>License: <a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external text\" href=\"https:\/\/creativecommons.org\/licenses\/by-nc-sa\/3.0\/\">Creative Commons<\/a><br>\n<\/p><p><br \/>\n<\/p><\/div>"}
    • Label the bags with the date you froze them. Use within 9 months for best taste and nutritional value. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/3\/38\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet3.jpg\/v4-460px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet3.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/3\/38\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet3.jpg\/aid85338-v4-728px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-10Bullet3.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":306,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":485,"licensing":"<div class=\"mw-parser-output\"><p>License: <a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external text\" href=\"https:\/\/creativecommons.org\/licenses\/by-nc-sa\/3.0\/\">Creative Commons<\/a><br>\n<\/p><p><br \/>\n<\/p><\/div>"}

Quick Boiling Frozen Broccoli

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. It's important to use a big pot, since you don't want the broccoli to remain in the water for too long. A smaller pot will cool down quickly once the frozen broccoli is added and take longer to cook.
  2. Remove the broccoli from the freezer. It may or may not have frozen into one large clump; either way is fine.
  3. Add the broccoli to the boiling water. Remove after one minute to ninety seconds - that's all the time it takes to reconstitute frozen broccoli.
    • Cooking broccoli longer than a minute and a half will cause it to get soggy and fall apart.
    • Make sure you don't add the broccoli to the water until it is at a full boil. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/d\/d2\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-13Bullet2.jpg\/v4-460px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-13Bullet2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/d\/d2\/Freeze-Broccoli-Step-13Bullet2.jpg\/aid85338-v4-728px-Freeze-Broccoli-Step-13Bullet2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":306,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":485,"licensing":"<div class=\"mw-parser-output\"><p>License: <a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external text\" href=\"https:\/\/creativecommons.org\/licenses\/by-nc-sa\/3.0\/\">Creative Commons<\/a><br>\n<\/p><p><br \/>\n<\/p><\/div>"}
  4. Drain the water from the broccoli. Place the broccoli in a bowl and season with butter, salt, pepper and cheese if desired.

Roasting Broccoli

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).
  2. Remove the broccoli from the freezer. Spread it evenly onto a baking sheet. If the broccoli is frozen together in a clump, use a knife and fork to separate it.
  3. Drizzle the broccoli with olive oil. Sesame oil and grapeseed oil also work well.
  4. Season the broccoli with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with additional spices like cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder or cumin if desired.
  5. Place the broccoli in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the florets have parts that are brown and crispy.
  6. Remove the broccoli from the oven. Place it in a bowl and serve hot.

Making Broccoli Casserole

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Remove a bag of broccoli from the freezer (you'll need about 2 cups) and add it to the boiling water. Remove after one minute to ninety seconds. Drain the water from the broccoli and set it aside.
  3. Mix the casserole binder. Combine the following in a mixing bowl:
    • 1 cup of mayonnaise
    • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
    • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
    • 2 eggs
  4. Add the broccoli to the mixing bowl. Stir it in using a large spoon.
  5. Pour the mixture into an oiled casserole dish. Any size you want to use is fine, as long as the entire mixture fits in the dish.
  6. Make the casserole topping. Crush 2 cups of crackers with 2 tablespoons (29.6 ml) melted butter. Spread the topping evenly over the casserole.
  7. Place the casserole in the oven. Bake for half an hour, or until the casserole topping has browned.

Tips

  • Using lemon (or lime) will keep the broccoli brightly green even after cooking.
  • The vegetables will be tastier and crisper if dry before freezing; avoid freezing them wet.
  • You can use a metal colander over a stock pot to steam a larger batch.
  • A steamer basket with a handle is easier to use than a steamer insert as the handled basket can be lowered into the pot easily and removed with the broccoli inside.

Warnings

  • Cut vegetables on separate cutting boards that are not used for raw meat.
  • Do not blanch in a microwave.
  • Be careful when cooking with steam. Wear a cooking glove when removing pot lids and lowering and removing the steamer basket. Do not put your face directly over a steaming pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Cooking pots with lids, large bowl
  • Steamer basket that fits into your cooking pot
  • Juice of a half-lemon, either fresh or reconstituted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasonings of your choice
  • Casserole ingredients, including mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, mushroom soup, eggs, crackers, and butter
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