Can you freeze broccoli? That’s the question on a lot of minds. You have an abundance of this vegetable in your fridge or garden, but what are you supposed to do with all that broccoli while you also enjoy the summer?
The answer is simple. You freeze it.
Freezing vegetables preserves their freshness and nutritional value, allowing you to have a healthy meal at any time of the year. But not all vegetables freeze the same way, so knowing to freeze broccoli is important.
In this article, we’ll go through the whole process of freezing broccoli. You’ll learn what equipment you should use to freeze your veggies and see step-by-step, how to freeze broccoli.
Many people eat more broccoli than their garden can produce, or buy extra at the store because it’s on sale. Instead of letting it spoil in the refrigerator, it is possible to preserve broccoli for future use.
With some additional preparation, you can store your extra broccoli in the freezer for months.You can freeze nearly any type of vegetable, including carrots, kale, spinach, and green beans.
But first thing first.
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Why Should I Freeze Broccoli?
Freeze Brocolli to Save Time
Freeze broccoli to save time in the kitchen. With a little advance preparation, you can keep frozen vegetables on hand to prepare your favorite meals in minutes.
Freeze Broccoli If You’ll Be Busy
Keep pre-cut vegetables in the freezer so there’s no need for laborious peeling and chopping when you’re ready to cook. Just pull out what you need and get cooking!
Freezing Keeps Broccoli Florets Fresh
Freezing allows you to preserve fresh vegetables for later use. In the case of broccoli, freezing extends its shelf life from a few days to several months. This is an especially attractive option if you end up with more broccoli than you can eat before it goes bad.
Freezing doesn’t actually change the taste of vegetables, so broccoli will have the same flavor you expect. Preserved veggies are also just as nutritious as fresh produce, with no nutrient loss.
Equipment You Need for Freezing Broccoli
Thanks to the simple nature of vegetables, the equipment you’ll need to freeze broccoli florets is pretty basic.
- A freezer
- A cutting board
- Measuring cups
- A large freezer bag
- A small measuring cup
If you don’t already have these around the house, they’re relatively inexpensive to buy.
You can find them in most grocery and hardware stores.You don’t need any special tools to freeze broccoli, but they certainly make the process easier if you have them.
For example, you might want to have a mandolin or food processor on hand to speed up the prep work.Further equipment you would need is:
Large pot for blanching broccoli:
Tongs or slotted spoon to place vegetables into and remove from boiling water
Freezer bags or containers:
It is best to use freezer bags, but you can also use an airtight container.
Ice cube trays:
Only if you plan on doing a lot of freezing and will be using the broccoli florets in smaller portions
Stainless steel or aluminum baking sheet:
A baking sheet is also important to place in the freezer to cool vegetables as soon as they are blanched. You can get a baking sheet from any store.
A large bowl filled with ice water:
To immediately stop the frozen vegetables from cooking and preserve their color
How to Freeze Brocolli?
Step 1. Wash the Brocolli
Wash your broccoli underwater before you cut it. If dirt isn’t brushed off, ice crystals can form on the broccoli during the freezing process. This makes the frozen broccoli florets look unappetizing and leads to freezer burn.
Step 2. Cut the Brocolli
Cut up your broccoli while it’s fresh. Small pieces of broccoli will freeze more quickly, ensuring the whole batch is ready for cooking later on.
Step 3. Blanch the Brocolli
Blanched broccoli is good to taste. To blanch the broccoli, remove stems and leaves.
Wash in ice-cold water thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand. Cut into uniform pieces so they will cook evenly.
Lay the broccoli out on a double layer of paper towels. Pat dry with another paper towel.
Prepare a large pot of water, enough to cover the broccoli, and bring it to a boil.
Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Add the broccoli to the pot of boiling water and let it cook for about 1 minute.
Immediately remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon or small strainer and place it in the ice water.
Remove the blanched broccoli to a colander and pat dry completely with paper towels.
Assemble your sealable freezer bags and place the broccoli in the bags.
Fill a sink with cold water and place the freezer bag in it for about 2-3 minutes to remove all of the air.
Remove the bag from the water and seal tightly, squeezing out as much air as you can.
Blanching pre-freezes the veggies so they don’t get too mushy while they are being frozen. It also creates new flavors by changing some of the chemical compounds in broccoli.
Step 4. Dry the Brocolli
Drying the broccoli before you freeze it will prevent ice from forming. This keeps your frozen food from becoming soggy during storage so you don’t have to worry about limp leaves of wilted broccoli.
How? Shake each piece in a bag with a little bit of olive oil and salt so they don’t stick together, then lay them out on a baking sheet or air-tight tray. A few hours later, they should be dry enough to store in an air-tight container or freezer bag.
Step 5. Bag It Up
Once your broccoli is ready for the freezer, put it in an air-tight container or freezer bag to keep oxygen away from the vegetables until they are ready to be reheated and enjoyed.
Step 6. Freeze the Broccoli
Now you are ready to freeze your broccoli! Just put it in the freezer, ideally on a flat surface so it freezes evenly.
If there is no space in your freezer, divide up your broccoli into several shallow dishes or containers so that they freeze more quickly. You can also wrap each piece of broccoli individually if you plan to pull them apart later on.
Step 7. Store the Broccoli
Store your broccoli in a flat spot in your freezer. A shelf towards the bottom of the freezer is generally colder and will help prevent ice from forming on your food.
Just make sure to pull out your vegetables before they freeze into one big solid mass!
How to Cook Frozen Broccoli?
Following are some healthy recipes you can make with blanched broccoli or broccoli yield.
Make Broccoli Soup
With a little preparation, you can have frozen florets of broccoli ready for your favorite soup recipes. Put the frozen broccoli in the bottom of a slow cooker with some beef broth.
Let the broccoli thaw out overnight, then cook until it is tender.This recipe works especially well for broccoli soup because you can make the pieces as big or small as you like.
This allows them to thaw quickly, cooking your soup faster.
Frozen florets of broccoli can be stir-fried and enjoyed as a side dish or main course. Just make sure it’s completely thawed and heated through.
One of our favorite recipes is Instant Pot Broccoli and Beef
Make a Salad
Broccoli can be frozen raw and used as a crunchy, nutritious addition to your favorite salad. It is crispier than lettuce, which can make it more appealing if you are looking for a change in flavor.
Check out this Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe over at The Inspriation Edit
Make a Smoothie
Frozen broccoli is great when it’s been frozen raw because you can just throw it into a smoothie. It won’t get mushed up the way fresh broccoli might because it’s been frozen already.
Cooking Frozen Broccoli
Frozen Broccoli can be cooked in a variety of ways to create great dishes at home. The easiest way is just to heat it up over the stove or in the microwave. You can also make broccoli soup or use it in many different salads, smoothies, and stir-fry recipes
.If you are planning on using your frozen broccoli within a month or so, you can store it in the freezer without blanching it.
Just divide it into smaller portions so it freezes faster. If you are planning to keep your broccoli frozen for a while, blanching is a good idea because it changes the flavor and texture of the vegetables.
How long does frozen broccoli last?
Frozen broccoli lasts around nine months when it is frozen properly, although you can keep it in the freezer for up to a year. Just be sure to follow the steps for blanching and storing frozen broccoli outlined above.
Brocolli Thawing Tips
Keep in mind that your refrigerator is a very cold environment, which can affect the texture of your vegetables if you take them out and then put them back.If you are in a hurry to use your vegetables, you can place them in cold water until they become soft enough to work with.
Thaw frozen broccoli in the refrigerator, not on the counter or in water. You can then use it immediately or store it until you are ready to use it.
Just be sure that you dry them before re-freezing or cooking them.
Broccoli is a green vegetable that is high in vitamins and nutrients. You can freeze broccoli to easily add it to your favorite dishes when you don’t have fresh broccoli on hand.
If prepared correctly, frozen broccoli florets can be stored for nine months to a year so you always have it on hand.
To conclude, freezing broccoli florets is a great way to preserve the vegetables you grow or buy in bulk. They can be used as they are, thrown into soups or stir-fries, or added to salads or smoothies.
Several easy steps can be followed for freezing and using frozen broccoli properly.
These will ensure that the vegetables are safe to eat and taste great when you use them for cooking or in your favorite dishes.
You can also learn more about freezing other types of vegetables by checking out this guide.
What is the best way to freeze broccoli?
To freeze broccoli properly, it must be blanched before freezing. The best way to do this is to place it in boiling water for about five minutes, then transfer it directly to an ice bath. Once you have blanched the broccoli, you can freeze it for up to nine months.
How do you preserve fresh broccoli?
Preserving or freezing broccoli is possible by either canning it or freezing it. You can freeze broccoli simply by blanching the vegetables and then placing them in freezer bags. Be sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bag or use a vacuum sealer before freezing.
Can you freeze whole fresh broccoli?
Yes, you can freeze the entire broccoli head if it is wrapped tightly or placed in a freezer bag. You should then place the broccoli in the freezer because the cold temperature causes it to become very firm, which makes it easier to break apart into smaller pieces.
How long will broccoli last in the freezer?
Brocolli lasts about nine months in the freezer. If you are not planning to use it within one month, you may want to blanch the broccoli before freezing it. This makes the vegetables last longer and also improves their taste, making them sweeter and more flavorful if you use them for cooking.
About Angela Milnes
Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and adults. Angela has also taught cooking classes and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Instant Pot Table. Follow her on Pinterest!