Don't you just love Spring? Last year, I had no time to garden, but this year I'm really enjoying my Spring harvest. When I picked six heads of broccoli at once, it was time to start freezing! Want to learn how to freeze broccoli at home? It tastes so much better than the frozen broccoli you buy at the store!
How to Freeze Broccoli
When you have broccoli coming out your ears, it's time to freeze! Before you begin, make sure you have the following things ready:
- Something to use to blanch and strain the broccoli. (I use a huge stock pot and a pasta insert. See above.)
- A large bowl filled with ice for a cold water bath.
- A colander.
- Trays or flat containers that will fit in your freezer. (These are for freezing individual florets before you put them in a bag for long-term freezer storage.)
- Freezer bags or other freezer storage containers.
Got all the materials? Let's get freezing!
- Before you start preparing your broccoli, fill a large stock pot with water and get it heating. (Bring it to a rolling boil.)
- Rinse your broccoli in cold water to remove dirt and bugs. (You may need to soak it, but mine just required rinsing.)
- Trim broccoli into florets and small pieces. Don't forget about the stems! Use a vegetable peeler or knife to peel off the tough outer skin of the stems, and then chop them up, too. Peeling off the outside layer takes a little bit of time, but the stems will be tender and tasty, so it's worth it.
- Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water for two minutes. (I strongly suggest using a pasta insert because it makes it super easy to remove all of the broccoli immediately after two minutes.)
- Lift out the pasta insert and allow the water to drain before pouring the blanched broccoli into a large bowl filled with ice water. Allow the broccoli to cool in the water for 3 minutes. (This stops the cooking process.)
- Strain the broccoli in the colander. (Get out as much water as possible.)
- Arrange broccoli on trays or flat containers in a single layer for freezing. (Choose whatever fits in your freezer. I used brownie pans, my broiling pan and several flat, plastic Tupperware containers.
- Freeze for 1-2 hours, and then place broccoli in freezer bags for long-term freezer storage. (Don't forget to label your bags with the date! The broccoli should stay good for a year.)
In the past, I have skipped freezing my broccoli in a single layer before putting it in freezer bags. Wow, does single layer freezing make a huge difference! Skipping that step leaves you with a frozen solid block of broccoli. That's fine if you want to cook the entire bag at once, but if you only want to prepare a little bit, you're out of luck! Freezing the florets individually before putting them in a freezer bag gives you nicely frozen pieces that can easily be poured out of the bag when you're ready to cook.
Did you wait too long to harvest your broccoli, and it has gone to flower? Did you know that those flowers are edible? My kids love them. They're really tasty. Try them plain or in a salad. (Images below are linked.)
How's your garden doing? I hope it's going well. From experience, I know that some years are good, and some years are not so good. I hope this year's garden does well for you.
Thanks for stopping by today! Check out more ideas by clicking on the images below.