Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is the key to health and well-being. One of the healthiest foods in the human diet is broccoli. This type of cabbage is rich in vitamins and microelements necessary for the body.
Benefits of storing broccoli frozen
Fresh vegetables and fruits are seasonal and cannot be stored for long. By freezing broccoli for the winter, you will not only extend the life of the product, but you will also be able to preserve its useful components.
This storage method has its advantages:
- frozen vegetables are compactly placed in portioned bags and placed in the freezer, which saves space in the refrigerator;
- ease of use: the frozen product has already passed heat treatment and is completely ready for use;
- the availability of healthy vitamin vegetables at any time of the year: this benefit applies not only to the body, but also to the family budget, since in the cold season the prices for fresh vegetables and fruits are much higher.
The broccoli freezing procedure, carried out in accordance with all the rules, allows you to preserve the maximum amount of vitamins and microelements in the product, and the taste of such cabbage will not differ from fresh.
Choosing and preparing cabbage
It is best to harvest broccoli in July: it is at this time that the cabbage ripens en masse and contains the maximum amount of nutrients. Ideally, it is recommended that you use vegetables grown on your site or purchased from the market. Young, firm and green inflorescences should be selected. They should be free of damage, dents, yellowness or dark spots. The shelf life of high-quality frozen vegetables is 12-14 months.
Preparing broccoli before cooking
- select suitable inflorescences, rinse them in running water (the water pressure in the tap should be moderate so as not to damage the vegetables and not thin out the inflorescences);
- place the cabbage in salt water for 30 minutes – this will get rid of possible insects; then rinse the vegetables in running water;
- remove hard stems and leaves with a knife, and divide the inflorescences into smaller ones.
How to prepare broccoli for baby food
Broccoli is an incredibly healthy and valuable product that is often used to prepare baby food. In this case, it is worthwhile to thoroughly approach the issue of selecting vegetables:
- cabbage inflorescences should have a healthy and fresh look, if you harvest yourself, immediately put aside young and strong vegetables;
- it is recommended to use vegetables that you have grown yourself or purchased from a trusted seller.
If the child suffers from eating disorders and allergies, the cabbage should be soaked for 2 hours before boiling and freezing.
Heat treatment of vegetables before freezing
The cabbage must be blanched before freezing. The procedure is needed to destroy the oxidative enzymes contained in vegetables. Also, heat treatment will preserve the taste of broccoli and the beautiful green color of the vegetable.
Blanch broccoli in a saucepan
The procedure for blanching cabbage in a saucepan is very simple:
- put a large saucepan on the fire, two-thirds full of water;
- immediately prepare a container with cold water (you can add ice);
- bring the water to a boil and place the cabbage inflorescences in boiling water for 3 minutes;
- so that the vegetables retain a bright green color – add the juice of half a lemon to the blanching water;
- remove the inflorescences with a slotted spoon and place them in ice water for a few minutes.
Then the cabbage must be laid out on paper towels and allowed to dry.
Blanching broccoli in a slow cooker
To do this, you must use the multicooker mode “steam cooking”. Each portion of inflorescences must be processed for 3-4 minutes, and immediately placed in ice water.
After heat treatment, the cabbage is dried on a towel, as in the first option. To prepare for the winter, vegetables must be dry, otherwise they will turn into an unattractive sticky mass during the freezing process.
Freezing broccoli for the winter
Before freezing broccoli at home, you need to prepare storage containers, such as plastic bags with fasteners or plastic containers with a lid. You can prepare cabbage for the winter using quick, or regular freezing.
With a quick freeze, the already blanched and dried cabbage is spread in an even layer on the bottom of the freezer so that the inflorescences do not touch each other. Then set the “fast freezing” mode. An hour later, the vegetables can be folded into portioned bags, removing air from them as much as possible, and placed in the freezer for long-term storage at a temperature of minus 18-20 degrees Celsius.
If your freezer does not have a quick freeze mode, you can simply divide the vegetables into portions, pack them in containers, and send them to the freezer. Broccoli is often harvested with cauliflower because the temperature and storage conditions are the same.
Freezing fruits for the winter at home is performed by analogy with vegetables. Vegetables, berries and fruits can be stored in one compartment of the freezer, sorted into separate containers or bags. The smells of the frozen food will not mix, even if you leave the boxes open.
How to properly use frozen broccoli in cooking
It is necessary not only to know how to freeze broccoli, but also how to cook them correctly afterwards. So that the vegetable does not lose its shape, color and taste – it is not recommended to defrost broccoli.
Before cooking, it is necessary to boil the frozen inflorescences in salted water for 7-10 minutes. Broccoli prepared in this way can be fried, stewed and added to salads and meat dishes.
Products prepared by freezing retain maximum benefits, and their taste does not differ from fresh vegetables and fruits. In the freezer, food does not deteriorate at all if you follow the rules and shelf life. This is why many gardeners who look after the health of their families choose to freeze most of their crops rather than keeping them fresh, even if possible.