Have your eyes bigger than your stomach? Do you realize that you have too much broccoli? Rather than forcing yourself to consume them, or worse, throwing them away, freezing can come to your rescue! But do we still need to know how to store broccoli in the freezer? Indeed, to avoid an alteration of its properties, methods must be respected. And it will also depend on how they are cooked: raw, cooked or blanched… Discover everything you need to know about effective freezing of broccoli.
What's the best way to store broccoli in the freezer?
The best way to store broccoli in the freezer is to blanch it. before placing it in the freezer. Blanching a vegetable eliminates the micro-organisms present on its surface, without cooking it and protecting it from the cold. Thereby, Blanching fresh broccoli preserves its properties as much as possible gustatory and nutritional but also its texture and its pretty green color!
Blanch fresh broccoli before freezing is very easy:
- Remove the leaves and the fibrous parts of the broccoli, then individually separate the florets (the small bouquets).
- Dip them inboiling water (or steam them) for about 3 minutes.
- Drain them and plunge them quickly into cold water, if possible with a few ice cubes in them to obtain a frozen water even more efficient. Let them soak for about 5 minutes.
- do well slimming the florets on absorbent paper or in a nearby tea towel. Be careful, the florets must be very dry before being put in the freezer because the water leads to the formation of frost, which is responsible for the alteration of the taste and texture of the broccoli.
- Finish by arranging them in a freezer bag by expelling the air as much as possible before closing it; this, always with the aim of avoiding the formation of ice crystals around the broccoli. If you don't have a freezer bag, put it in a airtight container suitable for the freezer.
Note that to preserve the flavors of the broccoli as much as possible after defrosting, it is preferable to freeze the freshest broccoli possible.
Other methods of storing broccoli in the freezer
You now know how to best store broccoli in the freezer. However, other techniques exist and will in particular adapt to the state in which your broccoli is, i.e. if it is raw and you do not want to blanch it, or if it has already been cooked.
Read also: How to store broccoli in the fridge?
Freezing Broccoli Without Blanching It
Can you freeze raw broccoli? It is possible to freezing raw broccoli, and therefore without blanching or cooking them, however you risk losing some properties of the vegetable. Blanching the broccoli before freezing protects it from the cold and therefore preserves its taste, texture and attractive green color as much as possible.
If, despite everything, you do not want to blanch the broccoli, it is still possible to keep it and enjoy it when it comes out of the freezer without any health risk or total degradation of the product. On the other hand, we advise you to integrate it into a simmered preparation or in a pan of vegetables, rather than serving it plain.
So, to freeze broccoli without blanching them while preserving their taste quality as much as possible, here's how to do it:
- If the broccoli was purchased, it has already been washed. If the broccoli was picked, wash it before putting it in the freezer. Then remove the leaves and fibrous parts.
- Then separate the florets and make sure they are good dry, especially if you washed the broccoli. Indeed, the broccoli must be dry before freezing because the water causes the formation of ice which will alter the texture and taste of the broccoli.
- Put the florets in a freezer bag or an airtight container before placing them in the freezer.
- If fresh broccoli has not been washed before freezing, then you will need the laver after it has thawed and before cooking.
For freeze fresh broccoli without blanching it, It would be better put it in the freezer as cool as possible.
Freezing cooked broccoli
Can you freeze cooked broccoli? It is quite possible to freeze cooked broccoli, however its taste and texture may be altered because it will be filled with water. Indeed, the more a food has a high moisture content, the less it resists freezing. That's why it's best to store fresh or blanched broccoli in the freezer.
To store cooked broccoli in the freezer, here's how to do it:
- After cooking, let the broccoli cool by putting them in the refrigerator maximum within two hours. This prevents too rapid bacterial proliferation.
- Then place them in an airtight container or best in a freezer bag. The latter will allow you to expel the air before closing it, and thus avoid the formation of ice crystals which further alter the properties of the broccoli. If you don't have either, wrap them in foil or cling film.
Note that it is better quickly put cooked broccoli in the freezer after cooking. This makes it possible to limit bacterial multiplication before freezing. Freeze broccoli no later than 3 days after cooking.
Read also: How to sublimate the taste of broccoli?
How to thaw broccoli?
You now know how to store your broccoli in the freezer. Note that some precautions are also to be taken at the time of thawing for both avoid a health risk, But also preserve the properties of broccoli as much as possible.
1 - How to thaw broccoli efficiently and safely?
Preferably, thaw your broccoli in the refrigerator for even defrosting. Avoid defrosting at room temperature as this strongly promotes bacterial proliferation but also the degradation of the food. Note that in principle, any thawed food that has remained at room temperature for more than 2 hours should be discarded.
If you are in a hurry, you can directly soak the freezer bag in cold water. This technique will allow you to defrost your broccoli in 30 minutes/1 hour. You can also use the microwave set to “defrost” if you are extremely in a rush. This will allow you to thaw it in minutes. However, this method will tend to dry out the food.
You can also defrost your broccoli directly in your dish. Integrate the broccoli florets directly into your soup, your wok, or your stew.
2 - How long will broccoli keep in the freezer?
You can keep your broccoli for 6 months in the freezer.. If you've blanched them and they're in an airtight freezer bag, you can store them for up to 10 months. After this time, they will remain edible, however their taste and texture may be greatly altered. Indeed, the enzymes responsible for food degradation are not completely stopped during freezing. This is why it is still preferable to consume them as soon as possible after putting them in the freezer.
3 - How long to eat broccoli after defrosting?
If you thawed the broccoli in the fridge, you can keep for 3 more days in the refrigerator before consuming them. On the other hand, if you have thawed them in the microwave, in cold water, or at room temperature, consume them at once.