How long does broccoli keep after harvest? Can you freeze broccoli and thus make it long-lasting? Here you can find out everything about the topic. Broccoli ( Brassica oleracea var. Italica ) is considered a healthy vegetable with high nutritional value – precisely because of this and of course because of its taste, it is very popular in the kitchen.
Growing broccoli is therefore always worth considering because the plants are easy to care for and high-yielding. Once you have a plant in your garden, cultivation is quite straightforward. When harvesting and storing the inflorescences, however, you should follow a few guidelines so that the fresh vegetables end up on your plate.
There are a few points to keep in mind when harvesting broccoli. In the following, you will find important tips for a successful harvest of the inflorescences.
When do you harvest broccoli?
In order to harvest fresh broccoli that will last as long as possible, the right time is crucial. The taste also loses aromas if the inflorescence is harvested too late. The time of harvest depends on the variety of broccoli, the weather, and the time of planting. Summer broccoli is ready to harvest about seven weeks from planting out in the field. The sprouting varieties, also known as winter broccoli, need several months due to the cold.
Broccoli is harvested before the flower buds that make up the head have developed too far or even opened. Because the development takes place very quickly when it is warm, the plants should be checked regularly shortly before they are ready for harvest.
Since buds that have developed too far can still open after the harvest due to the heat, they should always be harvested early in the morning. To keep the flower heads fresh and not wither, you should cool them with ice-cold water.
Harvest broccoli properly
Broccoli can be harvested several times, once the main shoot of the inflorescence and later the significantly smaller side heads. As soon as the main shoot in the middle is ready for harvest, i.e. it has formed large inflorescences weighing around 200 to 300 grams with still closed buds, cut these off a few centimeters below the buds with a sharp knife. After 16 to 20 days, additional side shoots weighing around 20 to 50 grams will ripen and produce several smaller broccoli buds that you can then use as well. So that the broccoli plant has enough space for the side shoots to develop, make sure that there is sufficient space when planting out.
By the way: Although most people throw away the broccoli stalk, it can be eaten just like the buds and has a taste of kohlrabi. The harder outer skin should be peeled off before cooking.
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Tip for winter broccoli: As an alternative to summer broccoli, it is worth growing a winter variety. If you plant the broccoli in summer, the cabbage plant has plenty of time to develop delicious inflorescences. As a rule, you can harvest from March to April and thus have the first fresh vegetables of the year. The winter broccoli is relatively cold-resistant, but a fleece still protects it in very cold temperatures in winter.
Store and preserve broccoli
Everyone has probably had this experience before: You buy fresh broccoli in the supermarket, but after a few days the florets turn yellow and the stalk becomes rubbery. It can also happen that the buds start to bloom and the taste suffers. Broccoli is not one of the vegetables with the longest shelf life, but there are a few tricks and methods to extend the shelf life.
How long can broccoli keep?
Broccoli can be kept for up to two weeks if stored properly. The temperature must be very low, around 0 ° C, and the humidity must be over 97%. Broccoli gives off the water very easily and becomes wilted as a result, with high humidity this effect is significantly reduced.
Store broccoli in the refrigerator
The refrigerator is ideal for storing broccoli in a cool place. You can increase the shelf life thereby wrapping the vegetables in a clean, damp cloth. Make sure, however, that the cloth is not dripping wet. Alternatively, wrap the broccoli head in cling film to minimize water loss.
The best way to keep broccoli not only durable but also crisp is to freeze it. To freeze the broccoli properly, proceed as follows: First cut the vegetables into smaller pieces and blanch the broccoli in boiling water for a few minutes. As soon as the vegetables are cooked, they should be quickly cooled with cold water and dried briefly. Broccoli can also be frozen raw, but must then be boiled or blanched after thawing. Finally, fill the pieces into freezer bags or boxes and place them in the freezer compartment. This way, broccoli will keep fresh for up to a year.
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Preserving broccoli: soak in vinegar
A well-tried method of preserving vegetables such as broccoli for several weeks is to soak them in vinegar. The whole purpose of soaking is to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. To do this, cut the head together with the stalk into small pieces and layer them together with spices like mustard seeds in a previously boiled mason jar. Pour a mixture of vinegar and water in a ratio of 1: 1 to the broccoli in the glass. If the vinegar taste is too strong for you, the proportion can be reduced to 1: 2.