Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preparing Broccoli for Freezing: Microwave Blanching

Broccoli finally arrived in my garden and I have cut three to four bunches for meals later in the year. I like to eat a handful and freeze the rest. Preparing broccoli for later use or freezing is pretty simple. Typically I prepare my cut veggies like beans and broccoli by blanching in hot water bath then transferring to a cold water shock, then into the freezer.

However, time has seemed to have got away from me this past week.  My veggies were cut a few days ago and their time spent in the crisper was just about up. (My cut broccoli was going on day three of refrigeration). As I got home last night to a very warm home courtesy of our current heat wave, I decided to forgo the traditional stove top blanch technique and  opted to steam the broccoli or as I call it, “microwave blanching” or steaming. I basically precooked the broccoli in a microwave safe container. I placed the small portion of broccoli in a microwave safe dish and placed a few teaspoons of water in the dish. I covered up the vegetable with another dish to create a steam effect and microwave on high for three minutes. As soon as the broccoli was done, I immersed in ice water bath, then removed patted dry and froze in sealable freezer bags. I had to repeat this process three times to accommodate all the cut broccoli. The results were bright firm green broccoli spears that will serve me well for the next few months. For those that do not want to heat up their kitchen during the hot season, I recommend the microwave broccoli steam or blanch method to pre-cook the veggies for freezing.

With any luck this summer, my broccoli plants that were recently cut will provide another harvest or two so I can keep going. 

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