Nothing beats the flavor of freshly-harvested broccoli straight from the garden. However, broccoli season often comes on all at once, with too many heads ready to harvest and eat at the same time.
Freezing broccoli is the best way to preserve the broccoli bounty to enjoy for months after the harvests have ended. Broccoli florets will retain their flavor and resist freezer burn when you learn how to freeze broccoli and follow a few simple steps before freezing.
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Learn how to freeze broccoli for the best flavor and longest storage life with these steps:
1. Select the best quality broccoli at the peak of ripeness to freeze.
Produce that is beginning to flower or beginning to soften will not improve in flavor once frozen. If you can’t freeze broccoli right away, store it in the refrigerator. Freeze broccoli as soon as possible for maximum flavor and nutritional value.
2. Trim the broccoli crowns into similar-sized florets. Peel stalks if desired and cut into the same size as the florets.
3. Rinse florets in a large bowl of cold water and drain well.
4. Fill a large pot with water (1 gallon of water per pound of prepared broccoli) and heat water to boiling. Add broccoli to boiling water. Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
5. As soon as the blanching time is complete, transfer the broccoli to a large bowl filled with ice water. Cool broccoli for the same amount of time it was blanched (2-3 minutes).
6. Drain broccoli and allow it to dry for 1-2 minutes on a dish towel.
7. Transfer florets to a cookie sheet (single layer, not touching) and place in the freezer until frozen solid (1-2 hours).
8. Once the broccoli florets are frozen, transfer broccoli into labeled freezer bags or containers. Remove as much air as possible before sealing.
9. Use frozen broccoli in your favorite recipes within 8-10 months. Do not thaw before cooking for the best flavor.