Broccoli is considered the closest cauliflower relative - a vegetable that has incredibly valuable properties for the human body. It contains a large amount of protein, many vitamins, amino acids and minerals, as well as a considerable amount of fiber. Experts recommend including this product in the diet of people who have problems with the cardiovascular system. Also, this product is able to have a preventive effect against cancer.
In connection with such a large number of positive qualities of broccoli, the question arises about the possibility of its storage, because it is not always possible to purchase a fresh product of good quality. A worthy solution is freezing. Let's learn how to freeze broccoli at home, what are the benefits of this method of storage and what will it take.
Advantages of the method
The advantages of freezing are many, and the main ones look like this:
- Convenience store. Frozen cabbage of this type does not take up much space in the freezer, does not absorb odors and can retain all its nutritional properties for a long time.
- Preservation of useful properties. Freezing, unlike other methods of storing products, allows almost completely to preserve the complex of useful characteristics and the range of taste qualities. If all manipulations are carried out correctly, adhering to the instructions, the product will hardly differ from fresh in taste, color, or vitamin content. This is especially important for those who are planning to cook broccoli for a child, as it is extremely useful to freeze the vegetable for the winter and make a tasty meal out of it.
- The product is always at hand, which saves time. It will not be necessary to visit the store each time to prepare a healthy breakfast or lunch for the family. Broccoli will always be at home in the form that is fully prepared for heat treatment and serving.
- Saving money. It is no secret that vegetables in the winter period are much more expensive than in season. Therefore, buying food at a time when the price is low, and freezing them, during the winter you can use broccoli to prepare full meals, while not spending the family budget on expensive products in the store.
Did you know? Recent studies claim that a variety of cabbage in the form of broccoli appeared not as a result of natural evolution, but due to selection work. Homeland vegetable is considered the northeast of the Mediterranean. At first they cultivated such a culture in ancient Rome. For a long time outside of Italy nothing was known about her. Only over time, the vegetable came to Turkey (then Byzantium) and then spread across the globe.
To freeze broccoli in home cooking, you will need:
- cutting board;
- sharp knife;
- pan (with lid);
- large bowl;
- basket for steaming in a pan of the appropriate size;
Choosing and preparing broccoli
Before you start freezing, you need to choose the right raw materials. Many are mistaken, believing that you can send absolutely any, even low-quality product into the freezer. Such storage will reduce all costs for procurement to zero. It should be understood that only young sauerkraut of saturated green color can be stored for a long time and not lose its quality characteristics. It is also important to monitor that the inflorescences are not affected by various diseases and insects.
Important! The worse the quality of the original product, the less time it can be stored, and the lower the taste index.
Naturally, the best option would be to collect and freeze the product, which is assembled in its own garden. But since this "luxury" is not available to everyone, you can pick up high-quality broccoli in the supermarket and in the ordinary vegetable market. Absolutely not suitable for freezing products:
- with withered buds;
- with the presence of even the faintest rot on inflorescences or stems;
- with signs of pest damage;
- shrunken and yellowed.
Using the method of freezing, you can feast on winter strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, tomatoes, corn, mushrooms, green peas, eggplants, pumpkin.
Broccoli Frost: Step by Step Instructions
Broccoli freezing is a process that takes a certain amount of time, but is generally quite simple and not difficult to implement. For convenience, we offer step-by-step instructions for preparing broccoli for the winter:
- First you need to buy or collect broccoli, following the above recommendations. The optimal time period: June-July. Inflorescences should be fairly dense, bright green. Vegetables with damage and stains are not suitable for long-term storage.
- Then rinse the products thoroughly. It is very important to remove all contaminants, because in the future the product will be prepared without prior washing. If there are doubts about the presence of pests or worms in broccoli, you can soak the product in saline solution, leaving it in it for about half an hour. Thus, it will be possible not only to destroy the parasites, but also to provoke their rise to the surface. After aging the vegetables in the solution, they will need to be re-washed in clean water. In the end all the leaves should also be removed.
- Next, you need to cut the vegetables into individual inflorescences, about 2.5 cm in diameter. The barrel should be cut with a sharp knife to pieces of 0.6 cm. The hard tip of the broccoli stem should be discarded.
- Then all parts need to be put in a large bowl and pour cold clean water. To the product is also recommended to enter the juice of half a lemon and leave to brew for 5 minutes. Lemon will help preserve the bright color of broccoli.
- Now you need to pour all the contents of the bowl (without vegetables) into the pan. There will also need to add more water so that the vegetables are completely covered with liquid as a result. The saucepan is covered with a lid and the contents are brought to a boil over medium heat. A lid helps speed up the process.
- In the meantime, broccoli will need to be placed in a basket-steamer and, when the water in the pan boils, put this basket in the pan. Water must be boiled again (again under the lid) and the contents boiled for 5 minutes. If there are no baskets, then it is allowed to dip vegetables directly into boiling water. But in this case, blanching should last about 2 minutes.
- Next, you need to get the vegetables out of the pan and immediately immerse in ice water or bring cold running water under the stream. This way the product will cool quickly. You can also use a colander for this purpose, if there is no basket-steamers.
- After complete cooling of broccoli, you need to drain all the excess water, slightly dry the vegetables and arrange them in special polyethylene bags, which are designed to store food in the freezer. It is recommended to lay out vegetables in portions in the amount that will be conveniently used in the future for preparing one meal. In this case, there will be no need to defrost more products than necessary, since broccoli should not be thawed, and then it is impossible to freeze the unwanted part again, this will spoil not only the appearance of the product, but also its taste.
- On each sachet it is recommended to indicate the date when the freezing was carried out. It is recommended to use vegetables within the next nine months, and such dating will help not to forget about terms.
Important! A distinctive feature of broccoli is the fact that the steam treatment of the product improves the amount of nutritional qualities of the vegetable. Elements not only remain in the composition of the product during a short cooking, but are also released due to the fact that heat destroys molecular bonds.
The obligatory stage of freezing broccoli is blanching. This is a necessary measure that allows you to destroy all the enzymes that provoke oxidation, and this will help to get rid of the formation of unpleasant taste and unnatural odor.
It is believed that by freezing such cabbage you can do without heat treatment, but in this case, most often, the inflorescences turn into dust, and the product after thawing can be simply thrown away.
Deep freezing of such vegetables can be realized at a temperature of about -18 ° C. Such temperature conditions in the freezer will be optimal and will allow to store the product for almost 12 months.
If the temperature in the freezer will be kept in the range from 0 ° C to -8 ° C, then the vegetables can only be consumed in the next 3 months.
We advise you to read about the methods of harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, pepper, onions, garlic, red cabbage and cauliflower, green peas, rhubarb, asparagus beans, physalis, celery, horseradish, oil, white mushrooms, watermelon for the winter.
It is important to understand that frozen vegetables after defrosting cannot be re-frozen. Therefore, when defrosting the refrigerator, it will be necessary to temporarily place the vegetables in a warm blanket, thus keeping the temperature low and keeping the product in proper condition. After washing the refrigerator, it will need to be returned to the freezer as soon as possible.
Did you know? In Germany, broccoli is called "Braun Kopf", that is, "brown head".
Do I need to defrost
Before cooking frozen broccoli, no need to defrost it. If you defrost vegetables, they will lose their shape, become limp and, most likely, after minimal heat treatment they will become similar to an unsightly mush. It is enough to remove the product from the freezer, if necessary, divide the inflorescences with a knife and fork and proceed to cooking.
How to cook
To cook frozen broccoli, preserving the taste and benefit, you need to know how to do it correctly.
You can cook such a vegetable in a conventional saucepan with a lid, as well as using a slow cooker and, of course, steamers.
To cook it in a saucepan, you must first bring the water to a boil and add some salt. Then dip the frozen broccoli in boiling water. In this case, a lot of water is not worth pouring, it should only cover the vegetables.
Find out how you can make green onions and green garlic for the winter, spicy herbs: dill, parsley, cilantro, arugula, spinach, sorrel.
Cooking time depends on the degree of freezing of the product, as well as on the size of the pieces into which the vegetables were cut. Most often, the preparation takes about 5-7 minutes, but it is best to check the readiness of the product every two minutes with a fork, piercing the broccoli stem with its tip. Vegetables are ready if the fork passes into the stem without apparent resistance.
Important! To make the vegetables crispy after cooking, it is recommended to place them in cold water immediately after removing them from boiling water.
Boiled broccoli can be served in its pure form, seasoned only with salt and spices. You can also cook cheese sauce for this vegetable or make a simple batter from eggs and crackers for breading. And ready-made vegetables can be sprinkled with lemon juice, add almonds, etc.
We offer a number of tips that will help simplify the freezing process and preserve all the nutritional characteristics of the product.
- To broccoli to keep its crispy structure and taste, it should be frozen only in a dry form.
- Lime or lemon juice will help to preserve the beautiful green color of vegetables even after their heat treatment.
- It is recommended to use the basket-double boiler, which is equipped with a handle-holder. Such a steamer will be easier to install and get out of the tank.
- It is not allowed to blanch broccoli in the microwave.
- Care should be taken when working with steam to avoid burns. It is better to resort to the use of protective gloves.
- Vegetables should be cut on a separate board, which was not used for cutting raw meat products.
In order to pamper yourself in the winter with fruit and berry desserts, take care of blanks from apples, pears, plums, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, gooseberries, currants (red, black), yoshta, chokeberries, in time.
As you can see, freezing broccoli is a simple task. The main thing is to choose the right product and follow all the above recommendations. Such a vegetable will be an excellent addition to the winter diet, as it not only adds a variety of tastes and colors to food, but also nourishes the body with a complex of useful substances.