Tenderstem broccoli is a healthy, nutritious, and versatile vegetable. You can use it in a Chinese stir-fry or serve it with a traditional roast dinner. Add it to a pasta dish, make a tenderstem broccoli and seafood pie or add it to couscous or burritos.
It goes well with a salmon dish and is delicious with flavored butter such as herb or garlic. However, what if it is on sale in the store or you have grown it and have too much to use before it spoils? Is there a way of storing it so that you don’t have to throw it away? Yes, there is, and that is freezing it. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze tenderstem broccoli and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Tenderstem Broccoli
1. Prepare the broccoli for freezing.
Trim the woody ends of the broccoli first. Then soak the broccoli in salted water for 20 minutes to remove any dirt or bugs from the stems.
2. Drain the tenderstem broccoli.
In addition, rinse the broccoli under cold water to remove excess salt.
3. Blanch the tenderstem broccoli.
The vast majority of vegetables need blanching to retain taste and texture as well as nutrients. Because of this, blanch your tenderstem broccoli. Cook it in a pan of boiling water for three minutes and then plunge the broccoli into a pan of cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Dry the tenderstem broccoli.
Pat it dry with paper towels. You don’t want to put the broccoli in the freezer while it is wet as ice crystals will form and the tenderstem broccoli will end up mushy when defrosted.
5. Put the tenderstem broccoli in freezer bags.
Divide the broccoli into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need and don’t end up throwing any away. Put the broccoli in freezer bags, remembering to squeeze out all the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of your tenderstem broccoli. Alternatively, put it into airtight containers. Put labels on the bags or containers with the date and contents.
Tips For Freezing Tenderstem Broccoli
- Always blanch the tenderstem broccoli. If you don’t, the taste and texture will be compromised, and the nutrients will be lost.
- Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur and ruin the taste and texture of the broccoli.
- Freeze tenderstem broccoli with other vegetables, such as green beans, kale, spinach, cabbage, or carrots. You will then have a ready-made mixed vegetable mix.
For How Long Can You Freeze Tenderstem Broccoli?
It is advisable to only keep tenderstem broccoli in the freezer for up to three months. This is because it is delicate and can disintegrate when kept in the freezer for too long. Even though it is still safe to keep it in the freezer for longer than three months, you may find that it will be mushy when defrosted.
How Do You Defrost Tenderstem Broccoli?
The good news is that you don’t have to take your tenderstem broccoli out of the freezer and defrost it in the fridge overnight. You can cook it frozen but with a little twist. First, bring a pot of water to the boil and a kettle to the boil. Put the tenderstem broccoli in a bowl and pour over the boiling water from the kettle. This thaws out the broccoli. Then put the broccoli in the pot of hot water and boil for two minutes. If you added the broccoli straight to the pot, it would cool down the water and you could end up overcooking the broccoli. Two minutes of boiling time will make your broccoli crunchy but not mushy. Once you have done this, you can add it to your dish or if you want to have it as a side dish, season it and add some butter or oil.
Can You Refreeze Tenderstem Broccoli?
We don’t recommend that you refreeze tenderstem broccoli. Ice crystals will form and when you come to defrost it, it will be mushy. Instead, freeze it in meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need and don’t then have the problem of refreezing it or throwing it away.
Is It a Good Idea to Freeze Tenderstem Broccoli?
As long as you blanch the broccoli, it should freeze well. However, be careful that you don’t blanch it for longer than three minutes, otherwise, you might end up overcooking it when you defrost it.
Be aware that if your tenderstem broccoli isn’t fresh and crisp to start with, it will not be improved in the freezer. There’s no point freezing soft broccoli as it will be just the same when you defrost it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing tenderstem broccoli but in case you still have questions, we have answered a few here.
As long as the broccoli is fresh, you can keep it for between four and five days in the fridge. If you want to keep it any longer, you will have to freeze it.
The stems can, surprisingly, be eaten. They are hard but will soften with cooking and they are flavorsome. To freeze them, blanch them for 30 seconds and then flash freeze them on a baking tray before bagging them up.
You can, and it will still be safe to eat. However, it will lose flavor, texture, color, and most importantly, nutrients.