Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Freeze Broccoli

There is no comparison.


Broccoli frozen straight from your garden (or farmer's market) is so much better than the stuff you buy in the freezer case.
Last year we tried freezing broccoli from our garden for the first time, and we were so impressed at how much greener and more flavorful it was. It was a disappointment to go back to the grocery store variety once we depleted our freezer stock in February. This summer our goal is to freeze enough to last us at least until spring.

How to Freeze Broccoli


Prep The Broccoli:

  • Soak the broccoli in a salt water solution for 20-30 minutes or more (this helps remove any bugs hiding in there), and rinse with cold water.
  • Set a large pot of water to boil. 
  • Cut broccoli into small pieces, inspecting for worms. (I know, gross, right?) Rinse again thoroughly with cold water.

Blanch The Broccoli:
  • Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the broccoli to a bowl of ice water. (This stops it from cooking)
  • After a few minutes, drain the broccoli and transfer to a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.

To Cook The Frozen Broccoli:

Microwave: Transfer broccoli to a microwave-safe dish, add a few tablespoons of water. Cover and cook for 3.5 minutes, stir, and cook an additional 3.5 minutes.
Stovetop: In a saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil. Add broccoli and cook 5 minutes. 

Don't Let Anything Go to Waste!

The Stems and Stalks: There's more to broccoli than the florets. Some people discard the stalks because they can be tough, but we eat them. I just peel and chop the stalks first because the skin is what makes them tough.

The Leaves: Broccoli leaves are deep green and full of nutrients. Don't throw them away! You can eat them, freeze them, or use them in soups just like you would with Kale or Collards. I'm sure they would work well in smoothies too.  Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to freeze Kale and other greens in the next few weeks. I've already frozen some leaves, and we'll pick and freeze the larger ones once we're finished harvesting the broccoli crowns.

A Word on Worms:

Worms happen. We don't use a lot of pesticides on our plants (just natural Neem Oil {affiliate link} and our Homemade Critter Repellant), so we do get worms in our broccoli.
We have encountered three different types of worms in our broccoli: deep green ones, gray ones that leave silky fibers similar to a spider web, and the tiny green ones (these are the worms that are hard to see). After brining the broccoli, I'll usually find some little green worms at the bottom of the bowl. The rest will need to be rinsed off in rushing water and picked out by hand.
Even when I examine the florets and remove a few worms, I usually find a worm or two floating in the water when I blanch it. (YUCK!)

Therefore, with home-grown broccoli, I always examine it very, very closely and boil (not steam) it before serving. The worms won't hurt you, but I know I don't want to eat them. The extra work is worth it to know that I'm not getting any extra unwanted protein. I guess that's the down-side to eating home-grown, organic veggies.

Give it a try!

If you can get past the worms, I highly recommend freezing your own broccoli. There is no comparison to the grocery store variety!

Have you ever blanched and frozen veggies? Which ones have you tried?


  1. Great info - thanks for sharing all this great information!

    1. I'm glad you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by, Patricia! :)

  2. I'm planning on broccoli for my first fall garden. I was not aware of the worms! I think I can handle it, tho. Thanks for all the info!

    1. Glad the info was helpful, Linda!
      I was blown away by how many worms there were in my broccoli, especially the ones floating in the boiling water after I had already picked through the florets thoroughly. It's a good thing I don't have a sensitive stomach!
      Enjoy your broccoli! We'll be putting in a second crop for the fall, too!


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