I don’t there is much better than a freezer full of veggies when it is the middle of winter and getting dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. This broccoli from Signal Mountain Farm became the first of our summer veggie storage last week.
The first step when you are freezing vegetables is to blanch them. Inside your vegetables there are enzymes that are breaking down the vitamins and pigments. Freezing actually enhances these enzymes and causes them to work faster. When you blanch you inactivate those enzymes and allow the vitamins and color to be better preserved. If you are a serious food and science geek and want to explore this reaction further, Harold McGee is your man. His book, On Food and Cooking is an excellent reference when you want to find out what went wrong with your cooking.
So, chop your broccoli and have a pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water ready. Drop your broccoli in the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, remove the broccoli and plunge into ice water. This stops the cooking process. When the broccoli is cool, drain well. I find the salad spinner works best for this to really get all the water off. Store the broccoli in labeled Ziploc bags. Always squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags.
Frozen broccoli does get a bit limp so it won’t stand on its own very well. It is great to add to soup, frittatas, stir fry, or casserole type dishes.