Having vegetables ready-prepared to go direct from the freezer can be a real timesaver. Broccoli is one of the most common and most popular of all vegetables. But what if you’ve gone a little overboard a bought too much?
Can You Freeze Broccoli?
Yes, you can freeze broccoli for up to 6 months. Before freezing broccoli, you must blanch it to lock in flavour, colour, texture and nutrients. You can then freeze it on a baking tray before portioning it out into freezer bags.
Does Broccoli Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Broccoli? No
How to Freeze Broccoli
Before you get to freezing broccoli, you must make sure you pick perfectly ripe broccoli in good condition. Freezing it will not improve it. Once you’ve carefully selected your broccoli, it’s time to get it frozen using the method below:
- Clean: First, clean your broccoli. Submerge the whole head in cold water for a few minutes. Give it a shake to dislodge any garden bugs or dirt. Once cleaned, dry it with paper towels.
- Prepare: Next, you’ll want to prepare your broccoli. Remove the stem (but don’t get rid of it) and cut the remaining head into florets. Take the stem and peel the fibrous outer layer, then slice roughly the thickness of a pound coin into pieces. Many people will throw the stem away, but it’s delicious.
- Blanch: Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and prepare another pot with ice-cold water. Tip your broccoli stems and florets into the boiling water and blanch for 60 seconds then transfer to the ice water to halt the cooking immediately.
- Drain: Drain again and give it a good shake to remove as much excess water as possible.
- Flash Freeze: Take a baking tray and spread your broccoli out. Trying to make sure none of the florets or stem pieces touches one another. Place this tray into the freezer and flash freeze for a couple of hours.
- Final Freeze: Once the pieces are frozen, you can transfer them to freezer-safe bags. You can freeze a mixture of florets and stems or keep them separate.
We would not recommend freezing fresh broccoli without blanching. Blanching is an excellent way of retaining texture, flavour, colour and nutrients. It might take an extra 5 minutes and require a couple of pots or pans, but the effort is well worth it when the resulting frozen broccoli will be much higher quality.
How to Freeze Broccoli Leaves
Broccoli leaves are a delicious secret. They bring subtle broccoli flavours to stir-fries and soup, but the question is, can you freeze broccoli leaves? You can, but they’re nowhere near as good as fresh. If you can avoid freezing them, we would.
The best approach for freezing them is to flash freeze them on a baking tray for an hour or so before transferring them to a bag. They will be incredibly brittle and fragile, so be careful when moving them to a bag.
3 Tips for Freezing Broccoli
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing broccoli to have the best results:
Blanching is Vital
When freezing most vegetables, blanching is a necessity if you want to preserve flavour and texture. It takes some effort, but you will be greatly rewarded when thawing and cooking your frozen broccoli.
Shake If Not Flash Freezing
If you cannot be bothered to flash freeze broccoli, then place it in a bag and into the freezer. After 30 minutes, give the bag a shake to separate the florets and return to the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Broccoli?
Like most frozen vegetables, broccoli will be perfectly safe to freeze for months and months. However, the longer you leave it in the freezer, the greater the chance the flavour will degrade, and the texture will become soft when thawed.
That’s why we would recommend only freezing it for 6 months.
A whole head of broccoli will keep for up to 7 days in the fridge. If you cut it into florets, then they will go off a little quicker so may only last for 4 days.
How Do You Defrost Broccoli?
Fortunately, you don’t even need to defrost it. If you’re making soup, casserole or stews with the broccoli, then stir the frozen florets into your liquid and allow it to thaw over a low heat.
One of the best things to do, however, is to roast it. This works well for the stems and the florets. Toss the frozen pieces with oil, salt, pepper, and chilli, then throw them into a hot oven until they are thawed and cooked through.
Can You Refreeze Broccoli?
We would strongly advise against refreezing broccoli. You’ll find the texture, especially of the head, will become increasingly mushy and bland if you proceed to refreeze it.
Instead, flash freeze initially to make it easier to grab a handful at a time.
Does Broccoli Freeze Well?
Many vegetables that have soft flesh don’t always freeze particularly well – broccoli is not an exception to this. Unfortunately, if care isn’t taken when freezing it, then the florets can become mushy, and the texture will ultimately be unenjoyable.
However, if you follow the method on this page, then you’ll be in the best position to retain its flavour, colour and texture. It won’t be quite as good as fresh broccoli, but it won’t be inedible either.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing broccoli or broccoli in general, then these may help:
Freezing tenderstem broccoli is perfectly doable. However, with it being even more delicate than normal broccoli, the texture can become somewhat mushier. Make sure you blanch your tenderstems for 60 seconds to try and prevent some of the texture degradation.
You can freeze broccoli sprouts but they won’t freeze well, unfortunately. As they’re very delicate this does mean that they become mushy and limp once frozen so it’s worth avoiding.
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