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How to Freeze Broccoli - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos
How to Freeze Broccoli
If you like frozen broccoli in the winter, just imagine how good it would
taste if you had picked a head yourself and then quickly froze it at home!
It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a vegetable for the winter. Here's
how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated.
The broccoli will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store.
Directions for Freezing Broccoli
- 1 Large pot of boiling water
- 2 large bowls, one filled with cold water and ice.
- 1 sharp knife
- Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc" type freezer bags (the freezer bag
version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
Step 1 - Get the broccoli!
is the most important step! You need broccoli that are FRESH and
crisp. Limp, old broccoli will make nasty tasting frozen broccoli.
Broccoli are of the best quality when they are tight, before the florets
start to open or turn yellow.
How much broccoli and where to get it
You can grow your own, pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store.
Start with fresh broccoli - as fresh as you can get.
- Wash the broccoli!
I'm sure you can figure out how to rinse the broccoli in
plain cold water.
Step 3 -Split the broccoli
Select firm, young, tender stalks with compact heads. Split lengthwise so
flowerets are no more than 1 1/2 inches across. Remove leaves and woody
portions. Separate the heads into convenient-size sections.
Step 4 - Soak the florets in brine (salt water)
Soak the broccoli in brine (4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon ordinary tap
water) for 30 minutes to remove insects. The rinse under fast running
Step 5- Get the pots ready
the pot of boiling water ready (about 2/3 filled) and a LARGE bowl with
ice and cold water.
Step 6 - Blanch the broccoli.
All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria
that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color,
flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. broccoli requires a
brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam,
to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanching times for broccoli is 3
minutes (or blanch with steam for 5 minutes) - the duration is just
long enough to stop the action of the enzymes and kill the bacteria.
Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the
broccoli in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high
temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same
blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water
from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required
Step 7 - Cool the broccoli
broccoli immediately in ice water. Drain the broccoli thoroughly (this
shouldn't take more than a minute).
After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent
overcooking. Plunge the broccoli into a large quantity of ice-cold water
(I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same
amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch sweet
broccoli for 3 minutes, then cool in ice water for at least 3 minutes.
Step 8 - Bag the broccoli
love the FoodSavers (see
this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing! I am
not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don't have
one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the
bags. Remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. TIP:
If you don't own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a
Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of
a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out.
To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the
bag closed as you remove straw.
Step 9 - Done!
Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!
Freezing keeps broccoli safe to eat almost indefinitely, but the recommended
maximum storage time of 12 months is best for taste and quality. The quality of the
frozen broccoli is maintained best in a very cold freezer (deep freezer),
and one that keeps them frozen completely with no thaw cycles. Excluding any
air from inside the bags which leads to freezer burn, by using vacuum-sealed
bags, is also important to maintaining quality.
I love the FoodSavers (see
this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing! Here's
an example of one model:
FoodSaver V2840 Advanced Design
This one is the least expensive of the Food Saver models that has all the
advanced features, like automatic bag detection and sealing, which makes it
faster and easier to seal. And yes, you can seal and freeze foods with
liquids (just freeze the unsealed bag in the freezer overnight, THEN seal
- Home vacuum-packaging system vacuums, seals, and shuts off
- Upright vacuum-sealing
appliance with SmartSeal technology keeps food fresh longer
built-in roll storage and cutter; automatic liquid detection
Crush-free instant seal;
2 vacuum speeds; 2 seal levels; progress lights; integrated
Marinate and canister
modes; includes 3 quart-size bags, 2 gallon-size bags, and a
roll of bag material
Measures approximately 6
by 18-8/9 by 10-2/5 inches; 1-year limited warranty
- Harvest early in the morning, especially if the weather is hot, to get
- Harvest the broccoli at its peak maturity (firm, straight, no florets
opening, dark green, not yellowing)
- Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with
ice until then.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I've frozen broccoli but it seem so limp and fell apart. Any idea why?
Generally, that means the broccoli was overcooked. It only takes 90 seconds
in steam or boiling water to heat/cook the broccoli after removing it from
- How long can they be frozen?
It depends upon how cold is your freezer and how you packed them. Colder
(deep freezes) are better than frost free compartments, which actually cycle
above freezing (that's how they melt the ice). Vacuum packing results in
longer storage capability, too. Thicker bags also help prevent freezer
In general, up to 9 months in a ziploc bag in an ordinary freezer, and 14
months in a deep freeze in a vacuum packed bag. After that, they broccoli
won't make you sick; they just won't taste a s good.