Got yourself a larger batch of broccoli than you can take? Don’t worry. You can appreciate the fresh veggies your garden has given you for longer and have a nice supply of broccoli to use any time you need or want. Find out below how to freeze broccoli without risking its nutrients and flavor.
How to freeze fresh broccoli
It is really easy and straightforward to freeze broccoli. The only thing you need to consider is whether you want to blanch it first or not.
If you do not feel like adding that step to the process, here’s how you do it:
1. Cut the broccoli into florets and remove the woody stalks.
2. Wash it carefully to remove any dirt or chemicals, and let them dry completely before you proceed. Otherwise, the droplets can ice-burn the florets, and condition their flavor and nutrients.
3. Place the florets in a freezer-safe zip-lock bag and remove as much air as possible before closing it down. To make this easier, insert a straw in a little opening, suck the air out, and immediately close the opening.
4. Put a sticker or write down on the bag the date you’re freezing the broccoli.
Extra tip: If you want to freeze a large amount of broccoli, try to divide the florets into individual portions. This way you won’t have to submit the remaining to temperature changes that could make them go bad.
How to blanch broccoli for freezing
Blanching is a technique very common when freezing veggies. It is supposed to preserve and stop their enzymes from decomposing and affecting the texture, flavor and color of the vegetables.
1. To prepare the broccoli, follow step 1 and 2 as explained above. Cut the florets, and wash them carefully.
2. Fill a bowl or pot with ice cold water. You can add some ice cubes to help it reach a lower temperature faster.
3. Bring another large pot with water to boil and plunge in the broccoli in small portions for 3 minutes. Time it carefully.
4. Remove the broccoli from the boiling water and plunge it right away in the pot with ice cold water for another 3 minutes. This will prevent it from keeping cooking even out of the hot water.
5. Drain it well before placing the florets in the freezer-safe zip-lock bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bags, put a sticker with the freezing date on the bag and freeze them.
How to store frozen broccoli
Once you place it in the freezer-safe bags, remove as much air as possible and put it into the freezer, your work is done.
Try to avoid temperature fluctuations so not to affect the quality of the broccoli. It is better to divide the florets into small portions so you can control the quantities you need without having to remove all the broccoli from the freezer every time.
How long can frozen broccoli last?
Frozen broccoli can last up from 8 months to one year in perfect conditions. Past that period, it will still be good for consumption but its quality and flavor will begin to decline.
Just to be sure, always smell the vegetables and remove any bits where the color might have faded or darken.
How to cook frozen broccoli
Fill a saucepan or a pot with about 1 inch of water. Put the broccoli in, cover it with a lid, and let it boil briefly just to thaw it. You can then add it to your recipes normally.
If you blanched the broccoli prior to freezing it, it will already be pre-cooked. Just remove 2 minutes out of its normal boiling time.
How to freeze broccoli after it has been cooked
Unlike other veggies, such as with green beans, you should avoid freezing cooked broccoli. Since you normally boil it for longer than blanching requires and you didn’t plunge it in cold water, its nutrients will already have begun their decay.
Also, freezing can make them mushy and soggy.
If you cooked too much broccoli, you can store it in a shallow airtight recipient (the less air, the better) and store it in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Need some visual help?
Check out the video below to see how to freeze broccoli with blanching. Sometimes reading the instructions can make it seem more difficult than it is in reality.