Michigan Fresh broccoli and cabbage

Michigan produce is the perfect addition to any meal.

Michigan grown broccoli and cabbage will soon be available. Whether you choose to purchase or grow these vegetables they are both a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber to enjoy. Once you get this produce, what to do with it?

Michigan State University Extension recommends that you wash your hands before preparing any fresh produce. Before food preparation takes place, fresh produce should be rinsed well with lukewarm water.

Cabbage

Fresh cabbage storage and use tips include:

  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Remove any wilted or insect-damaged outside leaves.
  • Store cabbage in a plastic bag or wrap in the refrigerator at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Cabbage will stay fresh for several weeks.
  • Before using cabbage, cut out the cabbage core with a sharp knife and rinse leaves with cool, running water. Drain thoroughly.
  • Keep cabbage away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

When considering food preservation for broccoli, keep in mind that cabbage usually discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned. Therefore, canning is not recommended unless cabbage is first made into sauerkraut or pickled.

Frozen cabbage and Chinese cabbage are suitable for use only as cooked vegetables. Select fresh picked solid heads. Trim coarse outer leaves from head. Cut into medium to coarse shreds or thin wedges, or separate head into leaves. Water blanch for 1.5 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving a half-inch of headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze.

Broccoli

Michigan grown broccoli is usually available July through October. Storage and use tips for fresh broccoli include:

  • Store broccoli in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with holes.
  • Use broccoli within three days. The longer you store it, the lower the vitamin content.
  • Choose broccoli with dark green florets. If the florets are enlarged, opened, yellowish-green or wilted, the broccoli is not fresh.
  • Avoid broccoli with thick, tough stems.
  • Do not purchase broccoli that is soft or slippery — this is a sign of spoilage.
  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Wash broccoli using cool, running water. Do not use soap.

When considering food preservation for broccoli, keep in mind that broccoli usually discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned. For this reason, canning is not recommended.

The best method for preserving broccoli is to freeze by following the process:

Select firm, young, tender stalks with compact heads. Remove leaves and woody portions. Prepare a brine by adding four teaspoons of salt to one gallon of water. Immerse broccoli in the brine for 30 minutes to remove insects. Split lengthwise so florets are no more than 1.5 inches across. Rinse and drain. Blanch for three minutes in boiling water or five minutes in steam. Cool promptly in ice water, drain and pat dry. Pack into airtight freezer containers, leaving no head space. Seal, label, date and freeze. Use frozen broccoli within eight to 12 months for best quality.

Be sure to check the Michigan Fresh fact sheets for recipes, gardening tips and preservation techniques. More than 80 fact sheets about Michigan grown foods are available for free at michiganfresh.msue.msu.edu.

The goal of Michigan Fresh is to help you and your family eat, preserve, grow and learn about all that’s Michigan fresh. It’s Michigan Fresh – for you!

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