Blanching broccoli is a simple process that involves quickly cooking your florets, then immediately chilling them to stop the cooking so the broccoli stays bright green. It’s an essential step for freezing the vegetable and it helps the broccoli look and taste its best in everyday recipes.
What Is Blanching?
Blanching is a process of cooking food (often vegetables) in boiling water for a few minutes before transferring it to an ice water bath, which shocks the vegetable and stops the cooking process. The result is a vibrantly colored, slightly cooked vegetable that is still crisp and ideal for freezing or use in a favorite recipe.
Why Should I Blanch Broccoli?
Blanching has a number of benefits.
- It destroys any dirt or microorganisms that may still remain on your broccoli.
- Blanching stops the action of enzymes naturally present in vegetables that change the color, flavor, and texture when you freeze your broccoli. This means more appealing and tasty florets when the broccoli is thawed.
- It slows the loss of valuable nutrients, which is especially important when you plan to freeze broccoli for an extended period of time, and enhances the color of the vegetable.
- Blanching keeps the color bright green so you don’t get dull gray-green florets in your favorite broccoli casserole.
Use Blanched Broccoli in These Recipes
How to Blanch Broccoli
1 bunch broccoli (any weight)
Cut the broccoli:
Cut the crowns of broccoli into florets that are similar in size. An ideal size for eating and freezing is about 1 1/2 inches wide, across the top of each floret.
Bring a pot of water to a boil:
Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and turn the burner to high heat. Bring the water to a full boil. Putting on the lid will help it come to a boil faster.
The size of pot and amount of water you need will depend on how much broccoli you will be blanching. The National Center for Home Food Preservation suggests using one gallon of water per pound of vegetables.
Add the broccoli:
Carefully add the broccoli florets to the boiling water using a spider or slotted spoon.
Boil the broccoli:
Allow the water to return to a boil. This should happen within 1 minute. Once the water is boiling again, cook the broccoli for 3 minutes.
Prepare the ice water bath:
While the broccoli cooks fill a large bowl 3/4 full with ice and cold water.
Cool the broccoli:
Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli from the boiling water to the ice bath. Let the broccoli cool in the ice water for 3 minutes.
Drain the broccoli:
Remove the broccoli from the water either by straining and discarding the water or spooning the florets out of the water. Pat dry with paper or kitchen towels. It’s ready to pack and freeze or use in recipes.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 7g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 60mg||301%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|