How to Freeze Broccoli
Follow these simple steps to keep extra florets bright green and ready-to-eat for many meals to come.
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By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen
Broccoli is a great vegetable to have on hand, thanks to its nutritional benefits, versatility and quick cooking time. But if you accidentally overbought or simply want to stock up for future meals, freezing is a great option (especially if you need to freeze up space in that crisper drawer). Follow these simple steps to have vibrant, crisp-tender broccoli whenever you want it.
Washing and Trimming
The first step is to thoroughly wash and trim your broccoli. To do this, cut the crowns into uniform-size florets. Submerge the florets in a large bowl of cold water, agitating them to dislodge any dirt or debris, then drain well. To avoid wasting the stems, trim the ends and peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler. Slice into uniform pieces to cook and freeze along with the florets.
Blanching and Steaming
To ensure that the broccoli stays bright green and crisp-tender once thawed, it must be cooked before freezing. We recommend two methods: blanching or steaming.
For blanching, fill a large bowl with ice water and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add the trimmed broccoli to the boiling water and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath with a slotted spoon. This shocks the broccoli, preserving its color and doneness level. Once completely cool, drain well and pat dry with paper towels.
For steaming, you'll need a large pot with a steamer basket insert. Put a few inches of water in the bottom of the pot, then add the basket. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the trimmed broccoli, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Shock the broccoli in a large bowl of ice water, then pat dry once completely cool.
Proper Storage and Freezing
Once your broccoli is cooked and dry, it can be packaged for freezing. Lay the broccoli in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray or plate. Place in the freezer until completely solid, 1 to 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic container or resealable freezer bag. The broccoli should stay fresh-tasting and free of freezer burn for 6 to 8 months.
How to Thaw and Cook Your Frozen Broccoli
When you’re ready to use your frozen broccoli, there a few easy ways to do it. To thaw, transfer the entire container to the refrigerator overnight to use in your favorite recipes. You can also put the frozen florets right into a pot of boiling salted water for 1 to 2 minutes. This thaws and heats the broccoli without overcooking. Frozen broccoli can also be added directly to a skillet with butter and quickly sauteed until warmed through.