QUESTION: Can I freeze fresh broccoli? Is there anything I need to do to prepare it, or can I just wash and freeze it? -Cam W.
ANSWER: If you try to freeze broccoli raw, all you will get out of the ordeal is some bitter, nasty looking, shriveled up stems. In order to preserve broccoli in a way that retains the traditional texture of the vegetable, as well as its tasty flavor and bright green hue. To blanch your broccoli for storage, simply cut up your broccoli into pieces that are no more than one and a half inches in diameter.
Then either boil them for three minutes or steam them for five minutes. If boiling, use a sieve or a colander to remove the broccoli from the boil quickly so that they don’t overcook. Immediately after boiling or steaming your broccoli pieces, cool them in an ice water bath for the same amount of time that they were cooked.
As soon as your broccoli have finished their ice water bath, work quickly to dry them off in a salad shaker or by blotting them dry with a paper towel, then package the pieces in freezer bags in portion-sized servings and put them into the freezer. When selecting broccoli at the grocery store or when harvesting your own broccoli plants, look for heads with buds that are tight and firm. If the buds in the head are showing even the tiniest bit of opening, it’s not a good pick for freezing. You will end up with a much tastier product if you used the ripest, freshest crowns.