- When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown broccoli for the best quality and nutritional value.
- Know when fresh broccoli is available in your state with this seasonal food guide.
1. Selection & Ingredients
- Select tender, dark green stalks with compact heads. Do not use broccoli that show signs of decay or mold.
- When possible, harvest in the cool part of the morning and freeze within two hours.
- Use 2-3 lbs of broccoli per quart container.
- Ice (approx. 1 pound/pound vegetables)
- Large cooking pot with lid
- Blanching basket/strainer/slotted spoon
- Cutting board
- Use clean packing containers and materials that are moisture and vapor-proof/resistant:
- Rigid containers (glass jars and hard plastic containers) are especially good for freezing foods with liquid. Covers for rigid containers should fit tightly.
- Square or rectangular, straight-sided rigid plastic containers make the best use of freezer space.
- Wide-mouth, dual-purpose glass jars made for canning and freezing are tempered to withstand extremes in temperature and allow for easier removal of partially-thawed foods.
- Narrow-mouth dual-purpose glass jars can also be used but require greater headspace (to avoid expansion breakage at the shoulder) and foods must be completely thawed before removal.
- Flexible bags or wrappings (plastic freezer bags, freezer paper or wrap, and heavyweight aluminum foil) are best for freezing food products with little or no liquid.
- Vacuum packaging removes more oxygen than other freezing methods (Refer to manufacturer's instructions.)
3. Prepare Equipment
- Before use, wash containers in hot soapy water and rinse well. Dry.
4. Prepare Vegetables
- Thoroughly wash broccoli.
- To remove potential insects from head, soak 30 minutes in a solution of 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Rinse and drain.
- Peel and trim stalks. Split lengthwise into pieces not more than 1 ½ inches across.
- Blanch in boiling water for amount of time indicated in table below.
- Use one gallon water per pound of prepared broccoli.
- Lower broccoli into vigorously boiling water. Place a lid on the pot.
- Start counting blanching time as soon as the water returns to a boil.
- Cool in ice water. Drain well.
- NOTE: Cooling should take the same amount of time as blanching.
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- Pack tightly into containers, bags, or wrap.
- Make sure sealing edges are free of moisture or food.
- Remove as much air as possible and seal.
- Label with the name of food, date, and type of pack.
- Freeze as quickly as possible to 0°F or below.
- For quickest freezing, place containers in single layers in freezer.
- Most frozen vegetables will maintain high quality for 12-18 months at 0°F or below.