QUESTION: How do you keep broccoli fresh longer? It there a good way to preserve it? -Laura R.
ANSWER: You’ll want to consume fresh broccoli as soon as possible. If you want to store it follow these tips.
To store fresh broccoli, mist unwashed heads, wrap loosely with paper towels, and keep it in the refrigerator. This will help to keep broccoli fresh for at least two or three days. If you need to store broccoli for longer than a few days, you will need to cut your broccoli into small pieces, blanch it and freeze it.
If you try to freeze your fresh broccoli when it’s raw, all you will get is disappointment. The final product is bitter, nasty looking, shriveled up stems. To store broccoli in a way that retains the crispy texture of the vegetable, its tasty flavor and pretty green hue, you will need to blanch your broccoli. Before you blanch, cut up your broccoli into pieces that are about one and a half inches in diameter.
Next, quickly boil the broccoli pieces 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, let them cool in an ice water bath for the same duration of time that they were cooked.
As soon as your broccoli is finished with the ice water bath, dry them off quickly using a salad shaker or by blotting them dry with a paper towel and package the pieces in freezer bags. Only put portion-sized servings in each bag as you will want to thaw and use them a little at a time. Once your broccoli is bagged up, place your bags into the freezer.
If you are buying broccoli instead of growing, 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 blanching and freezing. You will end up with a much tastier product if you used the ripest, freshest crowns.