Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How We Blanch, Freeze and Like to Eat Broccoli {Stumps & All}

It's been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.”

We had a bountiful crop of broccoli this year! The excess flowers were prepared for freezer storage. Being a no waste advocate, I was excited to see how my freezer stash increased by shredding all the broccoli stumps and placing them separately in smaller sized baggies. I couldn't think of tossing those home-grown beauties and you don't realize how much the stumps add up! These I have been including in homemade vegetables soups, pasta sauces and layered in lasagnas.


To properly freeze broccoli (most vegetables in fact), you need to blanch them. This helps to retain flavor, color and texture (though I didn't bother with the stumps since they would be thrown into soups and sauces where the quality didn't need to be top notch). 

The first step is to thoroughly wash your produce. I added a few drops of grapefruit seed extract in the water to kill any undesirables. I also separated the flowers from the stumps reserving the stumps to be processed later.


The second step would be to blanch your broccoli. This can be done in two ways, by submerging in boiling water for three minutes or by steaming for five minutes. I chose to steam this time in order to preserve more of the nutritional qualities.  


Once the broccoli has finished steaming, immediately plunge into an ice water bath for three minutes. This stops the cooking process. (You will notice some of our broccoli was starting to go to seed when we picked it as we had a sudden heat spell but it still tasted great!)


Once the time is complete, place your broccoli in a colander in order to remove excess water. Though not mandatory, I also follow this with a journey in the salad spinner for additional water extraction.

Place in freezer bags and freeze (sorry I forget to take photos at this point). Make sure you remove as much air as possible from the inside of the bag. This can be accomplished by sealing your baggie and leaving a tiny corner open. Place a straw inside the opening and suck out any extra air. Quickly seal and store.

If you want to be able to access customized amounts of broccoli for different recipes, place your final product (blanched and cooled as shared above) of broccoli in a single layer on a cookie sheet and flash freeze them. Once frozen you can put these in a plastic freezer container and scoop out the individual pieces as needed.


Now on to the stumps. Once they were nice and clean, we shredded them. As mentioned earlier, we didn't bother blanching these first as they would be added to soups and sauces so perfect quality wasn't necessary and time was more important to me at that moment.


The shredder attachment on my Bosch mixer made easy work of this little project! I have heard of these kitchen tools being referred to as the maidservants for the modern Proverbs 31 woman. I must say I agree! 


Of course, I had to label the baggies that the shredded stumps would be placed into. Just a note to write on your labels before adhering to slippery plastic! You could see I struggled with writing at that point.


As with the broccoli flowers, you want to remove all air from the freezer bag. I like to flatten down the contents in the bags so that they will stack nicely in the freezer like little office files. 


We ended up with eight full baggies (2 cups each) of the shredded stumps which will supplement many meals nicely! The fun part is to put all your homegrown produce in the freezer for those "rainy days". So very convenient for the cook!


Some of our favorite ways to prepare broccoli is steamed with assorted vegetables and drizzled with garlic infused olive oil, a dash of butter, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Lemon Broccoli Bowtie Pasta (photo above) is also a favorite. Don't forget about cream of broccoli soup. A tasty summer dish is to add the blanched broccoli into pasta salads (our favorite recipe is shared below).

Favorite Summer Pasta Salad {with Blanched Broccoli}

Toss together the following:
  • 1 bag of cooked and cooled rotini pasta (you can also use whole grain pasta)
  • 1/3 bottle of Salad Supreme Seasoning (Size 2.62 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can of sliced olives (use basic black or green marinated ones for different flavors)
  • 1 basket of cherry tomatoes cut in half or a few garden fresh diced tomatoes
  • 2 - 3 cups of blanched broccoli flowers
  • Italian Dressing (according to taste, about a cup or more)
Serve chilled. You can always add more or different veggies to this than the amounts specified. The more raw ingredients the better (and healthier). This makes for a tasty lunch or is a wonderful side dish to grilled meats, etc.


Another dish we like to serve is White Bean Broccoli Alfredo. Simply prepare the pasta of your choice (our favorite is the brown rice spaghetti from Trader Joe's). Sprinkle pasta with a liberal amount of steamed broccoli followed by a generous serving of white bean Alfredo sauce (recipe follows and adapted slightly from the Prudent Homemaker).

White Bean Alfredo Sauce

Blend together the following:
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (I use my pint jars of canned butter beans)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of cream
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
  • ground pepper to taste
Cook blended ingredients in a small saucepan until heated through and starting to bubble. Keep stirring so that it doesn't burn. I like to prepare this sauce over the traditional Alfredo for the extra protein that the beans offer.


Did you plant broccoli this year? Perhaps you stocked up at a Farmer's Market? And finally, what do you do with the stumps?


36 comments:

  1. I'm having one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" moments, now. I love the idea of shredding the broccoli stumps because stumps they are. I sometimes compost them, but I always get that guilty, wasteful feeling when I do. *sigh* I've even tried peeling them, but that is just too much of a chore. Hey, we have the same mixer (and meat grinder attachment), but I don't have food processor attachment. I did just put it on my wishlist on amazon.com even though I have a Cuisinart as I could use a 12 cup processor - mine is just 7 cups. Now, I'm wondering if you have their grainmill? If so, how well does it work? I have a Nutrimill, but I'd love to reduce the amount of appliances in my kitchen with attachments for just one machine.
    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I have typed two long-winded responses and my computer keeps acting up and not publishing them... (sigh...) I will respond later this afternoon when I have more time :) See ya then!

      Delete
    2. Oh my, JES, don't worry about replying to my question. That was thoughtless of me. It's too much to answer all kinds of questions with everything else you do. I'll just go over to amazon.com and read some reviews on the mill. :) Thank you for trying though. :)

      Delete
    3. Hi there! No worries, I still want to answer your question :) The Bosch attachment I used for this project is the shredder/slicer attachment. I use the shredder often for hash browns, sauerkraut, coleslaw, I use the slicer attachment for scalloped potatoes and the french fry attachment for (yes!) fries. I have the Bosch food processor attachment but am not too thrilled with it. I also scaled back on all our appliances and bought the Bosch attachment when possible however I don't have the grain mill (I also have a Nutrimill). The only other appliances I kept besides the Bosch was a food processor. Otherwise, I love the citrus juicer, the the shredder/slicer, the blender, bread and cookie bowls with attachments, the meat grinder, and I even have the old ice-cream maker attachment (though it only makes for one quart). Well, I hope this info helps! Have a wonderful weekend :) Oh and yes, this is the only appliance I keep out on my countertops! :)

      Delete
    4. Thank you so much for the information on the Bosch! It's such a good machine - I'm so glad they have lots of attachments. I really want/need the food processor with the discs now. :) Besides all the cabbage, etc. that I shred, we love fries, but I hate cutting them...never get them uniform. I never even thought about an attachment for them. Glad you mentioned that. Oh, and I'd love the ice cream maker attachment, but then I'd be using it all the time and gain more weight. lol Thanks again for all the info! :)

      Delete
    5. You are most welcome :) FYI the ice cream maker is already vintage and no longer being sold. I had gotten a used one on EBAY though I will add that nothing beats the Cuisinart 2 quart ice cream maker for convenience! Which might be a bad thing!

      Delete
  2. You are a fountain of knowledge, dear JES! I have never tried to freeze broccoli, but I would love to since my husband and son love this vegetable and you make it seem uite simple :) Thank you for inspiring me. Have a lovely day! Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to visit Stephanie. That is wonderful they like broccoli as many men fear such green veggies :) My hubby also likes it though :)

      Delete
  3. Hello Jes,

    We had an abundance of broccoli this year. We enjoyed it fresh and I had a lot to freeze, as well. I did the blanching, but after reading here today I think this year I am going to try the steaming method. LOTS of GREAT information here. Thank you so much. I'm going to "pin" your recipes also...that pasta salad looks WONDERFUL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Dianna! Another reason I like the steaming is that it gives me more time in my blanching assembly line! With the 3 minutes when doing boiling water, I feel like I am running around with my head cut off :)

      Delete
  4. With my store bought broccoli stumps, which are not quite so large as yours, I slice into chunky julienne pieces and stir fry them with fresh ginger root. This goes well with chicken and rice. I also use them in broccoli and chees soup.
    As an aside, a piece of fresh ginger root is expensive and often far larger than the amount I need so I buy when there is a sale on and toss the whole root into the freezer and use it as needed. It is easy to scrape away the skin and grate the frozen root for just the amount desired and then toss the rest back into the freezer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tips!! I will have to try them in the stir fry next time!!!

      Delete
  5. Great post JES! Broccoli is our vegetable of choice here, and what a great way to save the stump and use it! I am really interested in the White Bean Alfredo Sauce as well, and want to give that a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We really like the sauce and it is easy to prepare! And yes, the stumps add great flavor to many dishes (and sight unseen for those afraid of it!)...

      Delete
  6. What good ideas on freezing broccoli and I never would of thought to shred the stumps. I need to go buy a whole bunch and do this. Love it! Oh and I was just thinking about alfredo sauce this morning, I think I'm gonna have to give yours a try. It sounds mighty tasty!

    Thanks so much for sharing your delicious ideas!

    Have a wonderful week.
    Blessings,
    amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, thanks for stopping by :) And you will love the no-waste when you shred those stumps!

      Delete
  7. Can you shred the bottoms of the broc that are hard?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, if you are referring to the hard stumps then YES :) They can be shredded and if added to simmering pasta sauces and soups, they will soften up! This is a good no-waste method.

      Delete
  8. Ah, this makes me so excited and full of hope for this years garden!! I'm bumping things up this year and planing more produce than usual, one of which will be broccoli! I LOVE the idea of flash freezing so you can use different amounts, and grating the stumps...such a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Monica @ shesafarmer.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Monica! May your garden be bountiful :)

      Delete
  9. We've been using some of freezer veggies to supplement meatloaf. It's really good with zucchini or tomatoes. I imagine broccoli would be a good addition to meatloaf too!

    Thanks for sharing! I love broccoli. I'll have to use my stumps this year also. :) Great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the shredded stumps might be good in meatloaf also! Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  10. BTW, if you have any other "no-waste" methods you use, please post those! I don't like waste either, but I'm always short of ideas of what to save and how to use what I save.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Living and depending on a farm, we need to be no-waste. Everything takes time and effort and it hurts to throw away good food!

      Delete
  11. I have bought a lot of frozen broccoli but I have not frozen my own. Definitely something I would try so thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While it is in season is the way to go. Thanks for stopping by Jendi :)

      Delete
  12. Thanks for sharing! I'm always trying to save more money by wasting less and I will definitely be using this tip for broccoli.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My goodness, but that broccoli looks wonderful! It is one of our favorite foods in the world! I have trouble growing it, though. We love it steamed (stalks, too) with cauliflower. We've stopped the cheese for the time being as we detox and do our Lyme's protocol.
    Miss you, friend! Now I hope to link-up a few posts! Sorry I'm late to visit :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steamed stalks! Great idea! Thanks for sharing that Jacqueline! :) But sad on the no-cheese because they sure go nicely together...

      Delete
  14. Dear Jes, this was so very needed, as even if you don't grow your own, sometimes it is so inexpensive. Now I can buy it in a larger quantity and freeze it. And I will also start shredding the stalks. But that white bean Alfredo sauce is on my menu list to try!
    I appreciate all the great things you share with us!
    Roxy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I know, we need to make our groceries stretch!!! Thanks for taking the time to share here today Roxy :)

      Delete
  15. So helpful! Thank you for sharing!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! Glad to hear that and thank you for stopping by Stasia :)

      Delete
  16. Broccoli is one of my favourite foods. I never thought of shredding the stems. Will definitely try it that way.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great informative and helpful post, we eat the stems too, that's something my Dad taught me. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...