Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Broccoli (HNI12)

Broccoli can be preserved and served many way. Michigan-grown broccoli is available July through October.

Using, Storing and Preserving Broccoli

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Recommended varieties

Cruiser, Green Comet, Green Goliath

Storage and food safety

  • 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.
  • For best quality and to preserve nutrients, preserve no more than your family can consume in one year.

Yield

1 pound of broccoli = about 6 cups of raw, trimmed florets and stems
1 pound = about 4 to 6 servings (1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked)
2 to 3 pounds of fresh broccoli = 2 pints frozen broccoli

How to Preserve

Freezing

Select firm, young, tender stalks with compact heads. Remove leaves and woody portions. Prepare a brine by adding 4 teaspoons of salt to 1 gallon of water. Immerse broccoli in the brine for 30 minutes to remove insects. Split lengthwise so florets are no more than 1½ inches across. Rinse and drain. Blanch 3 minutes in boiling water or 5 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 8 to 12 months for best quality. 

Canning

Broccoli usually discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned.  For this reason, canning is not recommended.

References

  • Michigan State University Extension Food Preservation Series — Broccoli. 2006. Bulletin W01047. MSU Extension.
  • Watch Your Garden Grow. 2012. University of Illinois Extension. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/
  • Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.

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