Now that our broccoli crop is ready to go, it's time to preserve it for using later. The easiest way to do this is by freezing it, and I think that frozen broccoli works just as well for cooking as raw broccoli does. It might be slightly less crisp, but the flavor and color are still excellent. Plus it's a piece of cake to do!
1. Harvest your broccoli heads while they are still tight and nicely formed.
I have seven heads here--that's a whole lotta broc!
2. Remove the leaves and cut the broccoli off the large central stem.
This goes pretty quickly. Compost the scraps (or feed them to the chickens).
3. Make a brine with a gallon of water and a cup of salt, and stir until it dissolves.
That's about enough for four heads, but I had to double mine. The brine is to kill off any bugs that may be hiding in all the nooks and crannies of the broccoli.
4. Soak the broccoli in the brine for 30 minutes.
Since a bunch of my broccoli is floating on top of the brine, I gave it a good stir to submerge this pieces at the 15-minute mark.
5. Drain and rinse the broccoli to wash off the salt.
6. Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch the broccoli for three minutes:
After three minutes, quickly drain the broccoli and…
7. Submerge it in an ice bath.
This stops the broccoli from cooking any further. I usually end up stirring it around with my hands to make sure all of the pieces are fully cooled.
8. Drain the broccoli (last time, I promise!) and let dry a bit on a clean towel.
9. Gently put broccoli in a freezer bag, label and pop in the freezer until you need it in the winter!
That's it! The extra step of the brining adds some time to this project, but it's not difficult. Now we're ready for all kinds of delicious side dishes this winter, and I'm super-psyched about it. Our broccoli drought is over!