It's the time of year when there's lots of great fresh broccoli... here's how to freeze some to enjoy later!
Here’s how to freeze the broccoli:
1. You want to freeze fresh broccoli. If you can’t freeze it the day you get it fresh then be sure to keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge and make sure there is a damp paper towel over the top to prevent it from going too limp.
2. Rinse the broccoli and break it into pieces about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches across the floret. For large florets, cut out the bottom parts of the stem that are too large and chunky. You just want to freeze the florets.
3. If you are worried about critters…some people say you should soak the broccoli in brine (4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon water) for 30 minutes to remove insects. Then you would rinse the broccoli again. If you aren’t freezing huge quantities right out of the field, you can skip this step.
4. Get a large pot (bigger is better if you are doing a lot) and fill it 2/3 full with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Then either clean clean clean and really sanitize your sink and then fill it with ice water or get another large pot and fill or 2/3 full with cold water and ice.
5. Now you are going to blanch the broccoli. You do this to lock in the flavor and help it retain freshness. It stops any future ripening of the broccoli. To blanch it you will put the broccoli in the boiling water (it should be rolling boil) for 3 minutes and then remove it and put it directly into the ice water (if you have a metal colander that fits down in the pan that you can remove that works great for this.) The key is to boil the broccoli for only 3 minutes and then put it directly into the cold water so that it can stop the cooking process.
6. After the water has been in the ice water for 3 minutes you can drain it.
7. Spread the broccoli out on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer into quart or gallon size freezer bags. Try to get as much air out of the bag as you can. Freezing the broccoli on a cookie sheet makes later portioning much easier, as all the florets will be individually frozen, and not stuck together.
8. Label the bags and put them in the freezer.
9. Enjoy your broccoli all winter long.
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