This was the second year that we’ve grown broccoli in our garden. It really is a pretty maintenance free plant. It’s so easy to grow and easy to freeze! Now that I have a few years of freezing broccoli under my belt, I thought I’d share how I easy it is.
Luckily, my kids actually like broccoli…most days. They love to eat it with cheese on it, but who wouldn’t eat something covered in cheese. Seriously, it’s the one vegetable I make where they don’t immediately fall to the ground and pretend they’re dying at the mention of having something green.
We had 6 plants this year which harvested about 12 quart sized bags of broccoli florets. Next year, I’m filling half the garden with broccoli! Mark my words!
Public Service Announcement: I tend to do a lot of my canning/freezing after the kids go to bed. So I apologize for the bad lighting in some of the photos. The broccoli from the garden did not have a yellow glow in person. Once the broccoli was ready to harvest, I cut the broccoli off the plant with a sharp knife. I don’t like all the stems, so I cut most of that off. Personal preference though. Just make sure all the leaves are off and cut up the stems in bite-sized pieces if you’re in to that sort of thing. No judgement here. I cut it all into bite-sized pieces and put them in a bowl of cold water with some salt. This is to help kill any bugs that may be in the broccoli. The first year I harvested broccoli, I had a lot of little broccoli worms. They are so tiny! In other words, hard to see. They were embedded and hidden within the broccoli florets. It was very time consuming making sure they were all out. I think I just finally gave in to the fact that one of us was probably going to unknowingly eat one. Extra protein, right?!
This year there were very few bugs at all on them. Hallelujah! Not sure that I did anything different, but I’ll take it! Winning! That’s the beauty (aka tricky part) of gardening: one year you get bite-sized potatoes, the next year your garden is flourishing! There are so many different variables that it’s hard to tell what made the difference. Back to the broccoli…
After about 30 minutes in the saltwater bath, I rinsed them in cool water. I then blanched them in a big pot. Just boil some water and dunk them in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Immediately dip them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Once the broccoli is cooled down, drain as much of the water off as possible. You can even spread them out on paper towel or a kitchen towel to soak up some of the excess water. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze for about an hour. After they have been in the freezer for an hour, put them in a freezer safe bag or container and freeze away! Frozen broccoli will be good for about a year, so label those containers/bags. In my case, we never have enough broccoli, so we fly through it before winter even hits. Simple enough process. Have a bug free broccoli season!