Have you been wondering how to preserve your excess broccoli and cauliflower for future use?
Have you brought up the idea of freezing but are worried about the after result; for instance you’re scared of running into a limp cauliflower, soggy broccoli or a tasteless veggie that no soup in the world would eagerly accommodate?
We’ll, worry no more as this article explains in details the method of preserving broccoli and cauliflower in the freezer for long term storage. It also outlines the perks of freezing as well as the down sides associated with it. You’ll also learn how to keep broccoli fresh in the refrigerator for short term storage.
Ready? Let’s get to it!
Broccoli and Cauliflower properly blanched and packaged in an air tight container can store for up to one year in the freezer. In the refrigerator however, un-blanched broccoli and cauliflower can keep for no more than a week.
Preserving Broccoli and Cauliflower at home
How you store your broccoli and cauliflower depends on how long you intend to keep them. You may want to store your broccoli and cauliflower for a short period of time, say about 2 to 3 days, or for long term, say about six to eight months or even a year.
Here is how you’d store your broccoli and cauliflower depending on whether it’s for the short or long term.
Short term storage of broccoli and cauliflower
For short term storage, you should refrigerate instead of freeze! Because by adhering to a few preparation techniques, broccoli and cauliflower can easily have their shell life extended in the refrigerator compartment without loss in color, texture or even taste.
Opting to freezing them for this short duration can affect them in all these departments, which is something that could have easily been avoided.
To refrigerate broccoli and cauliflower for the short term, you don’t need to blanch. All you need to do is to package them properly and store them in there. There are various methods of packaging broccoli and cauliflower prior to refrigeration. Here they are:
- Make a bouquet for broccoli and cauliflower.
- Wrap in a damp paper towel.
- Store in a ventilated plastic bag.
Methods of packaging your broccoli and cauliflower in details:
- Make a bouquet for the broccoli and cauliflower
When someone gifts you a flower you’d love to build it a flower bouquet, water it, and keep it alive because water is life. This same technique can be applied to broccoli and cauliflower, because let’s face it, they’re also a type of plant after all!
Steps in making a broccoli and cauliflower bouquet;
Step 1: Chop off the end of the stalk of the broccoli and cauliflower.
Step 2: Get a jar and fill about one-third with water.
Step 3: Immerse the stem of the broccoli and cauliflower in the jar of water.
Step 4: Place the bouquet in the refrigerator.
Step 5: Change the water daily.
- Wrap in a damp paper towel
Wrapping the broccoli and cauliflower in a damp paper towel is done to keep the vegetables moisturized. Living things need water to stay alive, just like broccoli and cauliflower need water to stay fresh.
Steps in wrapping broccoli and cauliflower in a damp paper towel;
Step 1: Get a paper towel and immerse it in a bowl of water.
Step 2: Squeeze the paper towel and make sure it’s damp but doesn’t contain excess water.
Step 3: Carefully wrap the broccoli and cauliflower in the damp paper towel, don’t wrap too tightly.
Step 4: Place the wrapped broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge.
- Store in a ventilated plastic bag
Air, just like water is needed for the survival of plants. A good amount of ventilation is needed to keep your broccoli and cauliflower as fresh as possible. This is why you need to store your broccoli and cauliflower in a ventilated plastic bag.
Steps to store your broccoli and cauliflower in a ventilated plastic bag;
Step 1: Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a plastic bag.
Step 2: Punch holes in the bag especially in areas around the head of the broccoli and cauliflower.
Step 3: Place it in the fridge.
Now that we’ve seen how to store broccoli and cauliflower for a short period, let’s see how to freeze for a long period. Shall we?
Long term storage of broccoli and cauliflower
Freezing is the best way to store broccoli and cauliflower for long. It can keep them alive for up to one year even though the length of the storage inversely affects the overall quality of the veggie.
This means that the longer you store the product, the more it deteriorates in qualities such as taste, crispness, texture, and color.
To reduce the impact of freezing on these qualities, you first of all want to blanch the vegetables. This will at-least provide a manageable product post freezing!
Blanching simply means boiling your vegetables in hot water for a few minutes and then immediately transferring it to a bowl of ice-cold water. It is usually done to deactivate enzymes which cause deterioration of products during storage.
It is very good for vegetables containing a large content of water like broccoli and cauliflower. It preserves the color and texture and prevents them from having a strange taste after freezing.
Blanching can easily be done through the following steps:
Step 1: Wash the broccoli and cauliflower in a brine solution containing salt and water.
Step 2: Boil water in a large bowl.
Step 3: In another bowl, prepare ice-cold water.
Step 4: Use a table knife and separate the florets leaving them with just a little stem.
Step 5: Chop the florets into smaller pieces of not more than one inch each.
Step 6: Transfer to the bowl of hot water and stir as it boils for about two minutes.
Step 7: Drain the florets and transfer them to the bowl of ice-cold water immediately, stirring for another two to three minutes.
Step 8; Drain the florets and dry them with a clean paper towel.
Step 9: Put in a sealed plastic bag and keep it in the freezer.
There you go! You’ve frozen your broccoli and cauliflower.
Can you wash broccoli and cauliflower with vinegar before freezing?
Absolutely yes. Washing your broccoli and cauliflower with vinegar before freezing is advisable especially for broccoli and cauliflower planted in your backyard. You want to get rid of any dirt, pests, or insects before freezing.
Steps in washing your broccoli and cauliflower with vinegar before freezing;
Step 1: Add vinegar to a bowl of water.
Step 2: Thoroughly wash the broccoli and cauliflower in the bowl.
Step 3: Rinse the broccoli and cauliflower in another bowl of clean water.
Step 4: Dry the broccoli and cauliflower with a towel.
Step 5: Chop off the edges of the stalk.
Step 6: Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a sealed plastic bag or an airtight container.
Step 7: Keep in the fridge.
Or following the procedure for freezing as outlined above
Reasons why your broccoli and cauliflower still went bad after freezing
You may have frozen your broccoli and cauliflower for some time and they still came out bad with a rancid smell and a bad taste and you’re wondering what went wrong. Here are some of the things you might have done wrong;
- Freezing without probably blanching.
- Freezing a bad or an already deteriorating broccoli and cauliflower.
How to tell if the broccoli and cauliflower are good before freezing
Telling if the broccoli and cauliflower are good will save you from shopping bad broccoli and cauliflower and help you avoid spoilage after freezing. Here are a few ways of knowing if your broccoli and cauliflower are not bad before freezing;
- They have a nice scent and not a rancid smell.
- The florets of the broccoli have a dark green color and the trunk bright green. Broccolis with yellow florets are already on their way to deterioration.
- Absence of spots on the trunk and florets.
- The heads of the broccoli and cauliflower are compacted and the florets are in clusters.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you freeze cooked broccoli and cauliflower?
Yes, you can freeze cooked broccoli and cauliflower. All you need to do is store them in a freezer bag and keep them in the fridge. However, this isn’t advisable for a long period as they start to lose their original taste and texture. You can opt to refrigerate them in a plastic bag instead.
Can you freeze roasted broccoli and cauliflower?
Yes, you can freeze roasted broccoli and cauliflower. To freeze roasted broccoli and cauliflower, allow it to cool, then put in a freezer bag or airtight container and keep in the fridge. You can always roast it again if it becomes thawed.
Freezing your broccoli and cauliflower is the best way you can preserve their taste, color, and texture. Freezing helps you store the veggies in times of scarcity and prevents wastage.
To store broccoli for a short period of time, you don’t need to blanch, you just have to package properly either by making a bouquet, wrapping them in a damp paper towel, or storing them in a ventilated plastic bag inside the refrigerator compartment. To store for a long period, you need to freeze, and you first of all need to blanch, then transfer to a plastic bag and put them in the freezer.