Want to know how to freeze broccoli? Learn all my tips and tricks for preserving this versatile and nutritious vegetable! In just a few simple steps, you’ll have broccoli on hand for all your casserole, soup, and stir-fry needs!
Have you ended up with more broccoli than you know what to do with? Maybe you’ve made all the fresh broccoli salad you can handle. Now, it’s time to freeze it!
This kitchen hack will help you preserve this green veggie so you can quickly add it to recipes like stir-fries, soups, and casseroles, or even throw it in the air fryer. This is my foolproof method for how to freeze broccoli so you never have to waste leftovers again!
Selecting and preparing broccoli for freezing
To achieve the best results when freezing broccoli, start by choosing fresh, high-quality produce. Look for firm, tightly closed florets with a vibrant green color and no signs of yellowing or wilting. The stalks should be firm and crisp, without soft spots or blemishes.
Once you have your broccoli picked out, give it a thorough rinse under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Cut the broccoli into evenly sized florets and trim the stalks. If you prefer, you can also slice the stalks into thinner pieces, as they tend to be tougher than the florets.
Blanching broccoli before freezing
Blanching is a crucial step in the freezing process for most vegetables, and broccoli is no exception. This process helps preserve the broccoli’s color, texture, and nutritional value by inactivating enzymes that cause it to deteriorate over time. To blanch broccoli, follow these steps:
- Boil the broccoli florets in a pot of water for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the broccoli to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the blanched broccoli, and dry it as much as possible to remove excess water.
For more details on this process, check out our how to cook broccoli post.
Can I freeze broccoli without blanching it?
While it is technically possible to freeze broccoli without blanching, it’s not recommended. Skipping the blanching process will result in a reduction in quality since the enzymes will not be inactivated.
This can lead to a change in color, texture, and flavor when the broccoli is thawed and cooked. If you are short on time or prefer to avoid blanching, be prepared for a slightly diminished quality when you go to use your frozen broccoli at a later date.
Freezing and storing broccoli
After blanching and thoroughly drying the broccoli, it’s time to freeze it! To prevent the broccoli from clumping together, follow these steps:
- Arrange the florets in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the broccoli is frozen solid.
- Transfer the frozen broccoli florets to airtight freezer bags or containers. Don’t forget to squeeze out excess air from the bags before sealing them.
- Label the bags or containers with the date and contents, and store them in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Frozen broccoli recipes
Frozen broccoli is a convenient way to increase the nutrients of your favorite dishes! Try it in recipes like these:
- Healthy broccoli casserole
- Air fryer frozen broccoli
- Broccoli cauliflower soup
- Roasted broccoli with lemon
No, you do not need to thaw frozen broccoli before using it in most recipes. Add it directly to dishes like stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and pasta, and it will cook as the dish heats up. If you prefer to use thawed broccoli, place it in the fridge overnight or use the defrost function of your microwave.
It is generally not recommended to refreeze thawed vegetables, including broccoli, as this can lead to a loss of texture, flavor, and nutritional value. If you have thawed more broccoli than you need, try to use it in other dishes or store it in the refrigerator and consume it within 1-2 days.
Frozen broccoli can last up to 12 months in the freezer if stored properly. If you notice any signs of freezer burn, such as ice crystals or a dry, shriveled appearance, the quality of the broccoli has likely been compromised. Additionally, if the broccoli has an off smell or shows signs of discoloration, it may be best to discard it and use a fresh batch.
- 1 head broccoli
- Blanch: Boil the broccoli florets in a pot of water for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the blanched broccoli, and dry it as much as possible to remove excess water.
- Freeze: Arrange the florets in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the broccoli is frozen solid.
- Store: Place the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the broccoli is frozen solid. Label the bags or containers with the date and contents, and store them in the freezer for up to 12 months.