My family loves broccoli. We eat it in stir fries, beef and broccoli, broccoli soup, in hot and cold pasta, and roasted. My best deal is 50 cents a pound, but I just caved and bought a box at 62 cents a pound. Considering it’s often $1.99 a pound at the store, it’s still a great deal.
I also tried dehydrating broccoli, which is good in broccoli soup, but the stems just come out too tough. Same with asparagus. The prized heads of broccoli and asparagus are fine, but dehydrated the stems are tough. Freezing is the way to go.
First you much blanch your broccoli. Conventional advice is to boil the broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes, but don’t do it! One minute is almost too long. You want your broccoli to be able to cook in other dishes without becoming soggy. Here’s how I do it.
Wash your broccoli, and cut florets. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add prepared broccoli to water, and boil for 45 seconds to a minute.
Plunge broccoli into ice water, or just very cold water. Broccoli cools off quickly. Pat dry. I prefer to vacuum seal, but you can also flash freeze and store in gallon bags.
Flash freezing just means you put the broccoli in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and stick in the freezer until completely frozen. This way, the broccoli doesn’t freeze in one big lump. I vacuum seal mine in different portion sizes. I freeze the broccoli once they are in bags, so the vacuum sealer doesn’t suck up the water.
Don’t be bummed if you can’t get the prices I do on broccoli. I happen to live near an awesome state farmers market where I can buy bulk items. Just figure out the rock-bottom price for a produce item, stock up and preserve. And you don’t have to go crazy like me and buy so much. Do what works for your schedule, and according to your family’s needs.
I have to spend quite a bit of time processing the produce, so it doesn’t spoil. It will take me a couple of hours to process a 26 pound box of broccoli. But on the other hand, it saves time in the long run. I have vacuum sealed vegetables stocked in my freezer, all cut, par-cooked and ready. It’s DIY frozen food, but no preservatives, and I pay rock-bottom prices.
I freeze an assortment of my frozen vegetables such as butternut squash (24 cents a pound), kale (58 cents a bunch), broccoli (50-62 cents a pound), carrots (25 cents a pound) red bell peppers (24 cents each), corn (8 cents an ear) and green beans (50 cents a pound). I also freeze a variety of fruits.
In addition to freezing, I also pressure and water bath can, and dehydrate. Each vegetable and fruit has special needs in terms of preservation, and I will try and cover my favorites on this blog.
Buying in bulk and preserving is the best way to economically feed your family healthy food. If you have any questions, please ask!