Blanched Broccoli

by Erin @ Food Doodles on March 21, 2021

Blanched broccoli is easy to make and ensures that your broccoli has the best color, texture and taste. Let this be your inspirational guide to everything you need to know about cutting broccoli, blanching broccoli and then freezing it!

What is blanching?

Blanching is a simple cooking method often used with a variety of fruits or vegetables which plunges them into scalding water to cook briefly. 

It’s typically followed by shocking which is to submerge the fruits or vegetables into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

blanched broccoli in ice bath

Blanching helps tenderize hard vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, or broccoli and eliminates the bitterness in vegetables before a second cooking method like sauteing is used.

How long does it take to blanch broccoli?

The process takes about 10 minutes, and you can even blanch a week’s worth of chopped vegetables to save time during your hectic week. 

 

What to do with blanched broccoli

You can do so many things with blanched vegetables! You can add broccoli florets to salads or soups, serve as an amazing side dish or add it into a quick stir-fry.

These recipes can get you started:

How to cut broccoli?

Let’s start from the beginning. When cutting broccoli, start from the bottom. Trim about an inch off the trunk.

If the trunk appears dried, woody, hollow or appears tough, keep trimming until you reach the tender green center.

The trunk and the florets are both edible, but the trunk will take longer to cook so it’s ideal to peel the fibrous trunk with a vegetable peeler to get rid of the outer skin.

After it’s peeled, cut the stem away from the head or “crown” and cut away the individual florets.

To cut broccoli florets, slice straight through the trunk at the top where the branches meet. If the florets are too big, slice down the middle and pull the florets apart into smaller bite-sized pieces.

Don’t forget about the stems! You can cut them into round discs or cubes, julienne them into small thin strips, spiralize them and even shred them.

There are several ways you can use them from stir-frys and soups to amazing frittatas. You might even find they’re sweeter than florets and as tasty!

How to blanch broccoli

Blanching broccoli is as easy as boiling water. First, you just boil a pot of salted water over high heat.

Then gently place the broccoli into the rapidly boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the size of the florets.

While the broccoli is cooking, set aside a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes nearby.

The broccoli should be bright green and somewhat tender when you carefully remove it with a slotted spoon.

Then immediately plunge it into the ice bath.

This stops the cooking process and keeps your broccoli from getting overcooked, which could leave it looking mushy and tasteless.

When the broccoli is completely cooled, drain the water and pat dry with a paper towel before storing.

Blanched broccoli can be stored in an air-tight container for several days in the fridge before adding to salads, veggie bowls, or served in your favorite healthy soup.

Can I freeze broccoli?

Absolutely! When freezing vegetables, blanch them first to slow the natural enzymes that cause a loss of flavor, texture and color.

After the broccoli has been cooled and dried, you can transfer the broccoli into an air-tight plastic bag and toss it into the freezer.

I recommend taking it one step further to flash freeze it to retain nutrients, and avoid the formation of ice crystals, not to mention having better tasting broccoli.

Frozen broccoli can be stored for up to one year before use. Be sure to wrap it tightly, and date it before storing it in the freezer.

What is flash freezing?

Flash freezing simply is a process used to rapidly freeze small items individually and store them quickly once they are frozen. It helps retain nutrients by stopping cell deformation.

Flash freezing is all the rage on the cooking shows with fancy machines that freeze at extremely low temperatures with circulating air.

But for the home cook, flash freezing is a practice of freezing individual pieces separately by spreading them out on a baking sheet and freezing them for a couple of hours before transferring them into an airtight container to be stored for longer periods.

Just make sure that whatever pan or baking sheet you use will easily fit into your freezer.


This freezing method keeps individual pieces from fusing together during the freezing process and allows you to easily portion out the amount you want to cook rather than having to cook the entire lot.

To thaw your flash-frozen broccoli, place it at room temperature, or if in a freezer bag, add it to cool water. Don’t thaw food in warm water as it will start the cooking process leaving your broccoli tough and easier to overcook.


I know it’s not the most exciting recipe but we all have to eat our veggies. 😉 I’ll be back next week with something more fun. Enjoy!

5 from 1 vote
blanched broccoli in water bath
Blanched Broccoli How-to
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Side
Keyword: broccoli
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli florets about 3 large heads
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
Instructions
  1. Cut off about an inch off the bottom of the trunk of the broccoli. If it's hollow or woody keep cutting until you get to the tender part.

  2. Remove any leaves and using a vegetable peeler, peel away the tough outer skin.

  3. Cut the trunk into 1/2" pieces.

  4. Cut off florets into 1 1/2" pieces.

  5. Bring a large pot of water (with the salt added) to a rapid boil.

  6. While waiting for it to boil when you think it'll start boiling in the next 2 minutes, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.
  7. Gently lower the florets into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. The time depends on the size of the florets. The broccoli should be a bright green and just barely tender.
  8. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge it into the ice water.

  9. Once it's cooled completely don't let it sit longer than needed, remove the broccoli from the bowl of water and pat dry with paper towels.
  10. Place the broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 2 hours and then transfer to containers or freezer bags. Label with the date.

Leave a Comment

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 wilhelmina October 19, 2021 at 17:14

Blanching really is a game changer, it preserves so much flavor. I feel like my cooking really took a step a forward when I started using this technique.

Reply

2 Jessica October 19, 2021 at 17:13

I am SO glad you shared how to do this. I’ve never done this and have always wanted to but wasn’t sure what it meant. Haha! Now I do! Thank you!

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3 Matt Taylor October 19, 2021 at 17:09

Thank you, this recipe for blanched broccoli is awesome. Fun story, when I was in my early 20s (years ago) I grew a ton of broccoli in the backyard. The fresh was amazing. Then I froze the rest (didn’t blanch it) completely ruined the rest of the crop doing that, lol. Live and learn! So yes, definitely blanch it before freezing haha.

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4 Jennifer Fisher April 4, 2021 at 14:06

Thanks for all the great broccoli tips! I really just thought blanching was only for helped to preserve the color — I didn’t realized it helped take away some of the bitterness. I’m going to definitely add back this step to my broccoli prep! Thanks!

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5 Yang April 2, 2021 at 05:09

So much detailed information, this is great! Blanched broccoli is my kids’ favourite vegetables. I make them over and over.

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6 Donny April 2, 2021 at 01:15

This is so handy! You answered so many questions I have.

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7 Kelly April 1, 2021 at 04:18

Thank you for this! So easy to make beautiful blanched broccoli!

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8 ChihYu April 1, 2021 at 03:51

Absolutely the best way to make broccoli! Delicious and keeps a nice crunch!

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9 Jean Choi March 30, 2021 at 02:23

This is the only way I eat broccoli! Cooks perfectly every time.

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10 tina March 29, 2021 at 19:59

Love blanching my broccoli before my stir fries! This is a great guide!

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11 Loreto and Nicoletta Nardelli March 29, 2021 at 15:30

Loved all the step-by-step pictures! This post on blanching broccoli is very helpful and informative. A great way to have vegetables ready for later use, in pasta, stir-fries, etc. Thank you!

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12 Kushigalu March 28, 2021 at 16:10

Love broccoli in any form . Thanks for all the tips and info shared here. Pinned this post.

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13 Tristin @ Home Cooked Harvest March 27, 2021 at 19:24

My kids absolutely love broccoli so I make a lot of it. Love all of your tips for making blanched broccoli.

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14 Ksenia March 27, 2021 at 11:48

Such an absolutely easy breakdown of how to blanch broccoli! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to Google it when I was first starting out in the kitchen

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15 amycaseycooks March 27, 2021 at 00:05

Such a basic cooking skill everyone should have. I always buy too much broccoli and this is the perfect way to store some in the freezer.

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16 Amy Liu Dong March 26, 2021 at 17:03

It is so easy. I will definitely be doing this with my other broccolis.

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17 Farrukh Aziz March 26, 2021 at 09:42

Blanched broccoli in chicken stir-fry was so good! I used this method to blanch my broccoli florets, and it was just perfect!

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18 Linda March 26, 2021 at 07:27

Love the idea of this blanched broccoli and freezing them. But first, make a stir-fry for a quick weeknight dinner

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19 veenaazmanov March 26, 2021 at 05:03

Thanks. Very informative and helpful too.

Reply

20 susie March 22, 2021 at 08:12

A very informative read about broccoli. Thank you!!

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