You either love them or hate them. This little green cabbage-like vegetables can be prepared in various ways to accompany the main meal or mixed into a salad. Raw or cooked, Brussels sprouts are a great vegetable for freezing to prolong its shelf life and prevent food waste.
Here is a full guide to freezing Brussels sprouts for the best preservation of taste, color, and texture.
Types of Brussels Sprouts
With the appearance of a mini cabbage, it is no surprise that Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family. The hard, green buds grow on a stalk and can be prepared by boiling, steaming, roasting, frying, grilling, or slow cooking.
With a fairly assertive flavor, these vegetables are commonly cooked with bacon, added to a stir-fry or casserole, topped with cheese, sautéed with butter and pepper, deep-fried, or dressed with balsamic vinegar in a mixed salad.
Although mainly green, Brussels sprouts also come in a purple variety. The purple sprouts taste the same and are used in the same way as the green sprouts. If overcooked, Brussels sprouts will become mushy and develop a slightly gray coloring.
Can I Freeze Brussels Sprouts?
Yes. To keep your Brussels sprouts in excellent quality for cooking and preserve them for months to come, you can freeze them. The length of time you can keep Brussels sprouts frozen will largely depend on the way you prepare them before freezing.
As with most fresh vegetables, it is best to blanch Brussels sprouts before freezing. Blanching is the process of pre-treating the vegetables in boiling water to stop the ripening enzymatic activity that eventually spoils the vegetables.
The naturally occurring enzymes will continue to function even when frozen, which will result in less vibrant color, poor texture, and a slightly bitter taste.
Unblanched Brussels sprouts that have been frozen are still good to eat. The quality will just not be as vibrant as if they had been blanched prior to freezing, and they won’t last nearly as long.
How To Freeze Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are suitable to freeze cooked, raw, blanched, or unblanched. Follow the steps below for the best preservation of your greens in the freezer.
Step 1: Wash
Wash the Brussels sprouts thoroughly to remove any sand, chemicals, or bugs. To ensure they are properly clean, you can soak them in salt or vinegar water. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add one to 2 tablespoons of salt or vinegar. Leave the Brussels sprouts in the water for a few minutes and rinse well.
Step 2: Sort and Clean
Remove any damaged or brown outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and sort the heads into sizes—small, medium, and large.
Step 3: Blanch
Note: If you are freezing the Brussels sprouts without blanching, you can skip this step and go straight to step 4. Keep in mind that you will need to use the Brussels sprouts within one month if you do not blanch them before freezing.
Heat a large pot of water till boiling. While the water is heating up, fill a separate bowl with ice water, ensuring that it is very cold. The larger sizes of Brussels sprouts will take a little longer to blanch, so add them into the pot of boiling water first.
After they have cooked for one minute, add the medium size sprouts to the pot. After another minute, add the small heads and boil for only 3 more minutes.
Immediately remove the Brussels sprouts by straining them through a colander and placing them straight into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
You do not want your Brussels sprouts to cook, the aim is just to kill the ripening enzymes for preservation purposes and immediately stop the cooking process by submerging them into ice water.
Step 4: Dry
Once cold, remove the Brussels sprouts from the ice and place them on a baking sheet to dry. Dry them with a clean kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Excess moisture will form crystals on freezing causing textural damage to your vegetables.
Step 5: Pack
Place the dried Brussels sprouts into resealable freezer bags. Press out all the air and seal.
Step 6: Label and Freeze
Write the date of freezing on the packaging so you know how long the Brussels sprouts have been stored.
How To Thaw Frozen Brussels Sprouts
Frozen Brussels sprouts will defrost quickly at room temperature. Simply remove them from the freezer for 5 or 10 minutes before cooking to thaw.
Brussels sprouts that are discolored, have a tinge of yellow, or are dry may have developed freezer burn. These will be best used in a stew, curry, casserole, or even soup as opposed to being eaten alone as a side dish.
Keeping Brussels sprouts frozen will allow you to cook these green veggies year round even when not in season. If blanched before freezing, they will last for up to a year in the freezer. Simply pull a few sprouts out of the freezer and toss them in with a casserole, stew, pasta, or soup. Brussels sprouts can also be pickled or cook them with bacon for a superb side dish.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Lettuce?
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