Tons of garden produce all at once; saving broccoli for the winter.

The garden is in full swing, producing me a box of goodies every time I visit.  Our yard isn’t big enough to have one nice garden space so I share a plot that my parents rent by the river.  It’s a beautiful, quiet area; however, deer are frequently spotted so you have to find a means to keep them out of your food.  You should see what neighboring gardeners do to keep deer out.

The past couple of years we have struggled getting tomatoes to produce enough fruit to get us through the winter.  Tomatoes are the one fruit (I always think of it as a vegetable) that we use in a lot of things.  My husband makes homemade pasta/pizza sauce and I make my own salsa.  Oh, and homemade tomato soup is da-bomb!

This year we’ve had an abundance of peppers and at this given time, broccoli.  Too much to use within a two week timespan that’s for sure.  So, I blanch it and freeze it for the winter.  I love to have fresh food, of course, but I also love to be able to pull our own food out of the freezer over winter instead of buying off-season vegetables at the grocery store.

Homestead, Growing broccoli
Growing broccoli

About 4-5 broccoli plants arrived at harvesting time at about the same time.  Now it’s time to cut, blanch and store it in the freezer.  There were two options in preparing it for the freezer.  One was to blanch it, as I have done all other veggies and the other is to steam it.  Honestly, I wish I had steamed it, as you lose some nutrients in the water you submerge the broccoli in.  BUT, I do plan to use this water to feed my compost garden.

Ahem, so our compost pile decided to volunteer a few plants.

Compost Garden: butternut squash, acorn squash, 2 varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers
Compost Garden

What we have growing here is cucumbers, a couple varieties of tomatoes, butternut squash and acorn squash.  Oh, and I had a potato plant but I pulled it last week.   It gave me a few potatoes.

I will water my little compost garden with the nutrient rich blanch water that I used for my broccoli.  Circle of life, I’d say.

I am sharing a good chunk of 1 broccoli head with my parents, but the rest got cut up and blanched.

Broccoli ready to be blanched
Cut Broccoli, ready to blanch.

I let a big pot of water come to a boil, dropped in a colander full of cut broccoli and let it boil for about 3 minutes.  I have a bowl of ice cold water set a side for when it is time.  After boiling, I held it in the ice bath for about 3 minutes before putting it on towels to dry.

Drying Broccoli

Get as much excess water out.  If you have a salad spinner, this would be great to use here.  I wrapped it in this tea towel and squeezed out as much water as possible.  The problem with this is it does smash the broccoli and it doesn’t come out as pretty.

Once this is done, put the broccoli in a single layer on a cookie sheet or cutting board (or any flat surface that will fit in the freezer) and let freeze for a few hours.

Frozen Broccoli, ready for storage.

Now I am ready to put them in a reusable storage container and put them in the freezer.  This will save us a bit of money from having to buy store broccoli plus I know how it was grown.

Frozen Broccoli for storage.

I think I have used all of our plastic storage for broccoli.  Time to get some more I would think.  This broccoli is now ready for homemade stir-fry, one of my all time favorite meals.

What do you like to do with broccoli?  I’d love to hear your favorite recipes!

 

 

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Ashley

I love art, being green and photography. I am putting all of those things together in this blog. I love sharing my favorite DIY crafts, green tips and home improvements. Join me in my journey of creative; simple living.

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