This year I put my broccoli at the community garden plot because I find it often tastes bitter up here. I don’t know if it’s the soil or the water, but I don’t like the taste of it. Plus, it’s often a challenge to grow. Even though I have more control over the water, it often bolts and grows goofy. I’m glad I did. This year I have the most beautiful broccoli I’ve grown in years. Much of it is picture picture. It also tastes good and doesn’t have much of an issue with cabbage moths. I have noticed a few caterpillars, but nothing like what I’m normally battling up here.
As a result, I’m the happy blancher lately. Last week I did my first batch of frozen broccoli, and this year I’m excited because everyone will actually eat it. Last year was a bit bitter, and it was best in soup with lots of cheese in it.
The process is simple. Cut your broccoli into the desired sized pieces. I like mine on the chunky side, but any size is fine. Boil a big pot of water, dump in a cut and washed bowl of broccoli and keep it in there for 3-4 minutes. Spoon it out, and immediately run the colander under very cold water. (Some people even put it in ice water to stop the cooking.) Once it’s cooled and drained, place it in marked freezer bags, seal (making sure to eliminate as much air as possible) and pop it in the freezer.
It can be hard doing it this time of the year when it’s over 90 degrees, and I get the stink eye every time I fire up the stove, but last week I was forced to improvise. Our gas was off for several days because the gas company needed to disconnect it while we dug the foundation for the addition on the house. (It just didn’t work out in their schedule to move the meter and the line by the time we needed to dig. Not a big deal.) So I worked my magic on the grill, which has a separate burner. As the guys were pouring the footings, I was on the porch with a big pan of boiling water adding my broccoli. It took a little longer because the breeze messed with my gas flame, but it was nice to finish it with having the kitchen feel like a sauna. So far I have 15 quarts of broccoli in the freezer, and I’m looking forward to having at least twice that much before the end of the season. Since the freezer is rather bare this time of year, it’s a good feeling to fill it back up.