Brussel sprouts are one of the most divisive of all the vegetables, if not all foods. For some, they are a delicious way of eating your greens and for others, they are to be avoided at all costs.
But, however you feel about them, they are a regular food item at many meals, especially big Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. They can be used in so many other dishes and (if prepared correctly) are absolutely delicious.
The main question (and the reason you’re reading this article), however, is can they be frozen? The answer is yes, yes they can. Due to their consistency and small size, brussel sprouts are very easy to freeze.
Freezing vegetables can be difficult, not because they won’t freeze, but because they don’t always have the same consistency when defrosted.
Defrosting vegetables is a risky business, especially if they hold a lot of water like courgettes or onions, as they can become soft and wet.
So to make sure you don’t have any disappointing mishaps here’s our to guide freezing and defrosting brussel sprouts.
How to Freeze Brussel Sprouts
When it comes to freezing brussel sprouts, you can’t simply throw them into the freezer when they’re raw. Well, you can, but they won’t be as good. Before putting them in the freezer, it’s a good idea to blanch the sprouts.
Blanching refers to boiling a vegetable for a short amount of time. There are several reasons to blanch brussel sprouts before freezing them.
Blanching will clean the sprouts and get rid of any dirt and organisms. It also stops enzymes from working so that there won’t be any loss of texture, flavor, or color.
So, with that in mind, here’s how to blanch and then freeze brussel sprouts:
Step 0.5: If all of the sprouts are around the same size, then skip to the next step. If the sprouts that you’re using differ in size, then you need to separate them by size as different sized sprouts will need to be blanched for different periods of time.
Step 1: Bring a pan of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water.
Step 2: Add the small sprouts to the water and boil for 3 minutes.
Step 3: Remove the sprouts using a spoon or ladle (making sure you don’t pick up any water) and quickly place them in the ice water. Leave them in the ice water for another 3 minutes.
Step 4: Add the medium-sized sprouts to the hot water and boil for 4 minutes. Then add them to the ice water for 4 minutes. Repeat this with the large sprouts but boil and ice them for 5 minutes.
Step 5: Dry the sprouts. You need to make sure that the sprouts are completely dry before freezing them. If they are not dry then the water will also freeze and crystalize. Then, when the sprouts defrost, they will become soft and wet.
Step 6: Finally, place them in a container (a zip-lock bag is best) and place them in the freezer. They can be kept in the freezer for up to 12 months.
If you have already cooked or roasted the brussel sprouts and are wondering if they can still be frozen, then the answer is yes.
They can be frozen if they are in a solid and airtight container but, again, when they are defrosted or reheated they may become wet and a bit squishy.
But, this is true of pretty much every food that has been frozen and then defrosted.
How to Defrost Brussel Sprouts
Now that you know how to properly freeze brussel sprouts, you of course need to know how to defrost them.
If you’re planning on boiling the sprouts, you can do this from frozen. They won’t be as nice as when they are cooked from raw as they may be a little softer and squishier, but they will still taste good (which is the main thing).
If you’re planning on roasting the sprouts, then it’s a bit of a different process. Before placing them in the pan, allow them to defrost for around five minutes.
Place them on a chopping board or in a colander to allow the water to drain away. This will allow them to crisp up and become a little crunchier in the oven.
You can defrost the brussel sprouts in the microwave if you need them desperately quickly, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Microwaving brussel sprouts will work, but they will not be very nice.
Even if you use the specific “defrost” setting instead of the standard cooking. The brussel sprouts will become soft, wet, and squishy. This is not what you want from brussel sprouts, especially if you’re trying to make someone else (or yourself) eat them.
If you’re trying to convince someone that brussel sprouts are actually nice, using a microwave at any point in the process will not help you.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Brussel Sprouts
As with any food, freezing brussel sprouts can potentially change their taste, texture, color, and consistency. But, if the alternative is throwing away or wasting food, this is bearable.
Another thing to consider is storage. If you’re freezing blanched brussel sprouts, then it’s best to store them in a flexible container, like a zip-lock bag. This will make them easier to store as they won’t take up as much space.
If you’re freezing brussel sprouts that have already been roasted, then store them in a more solid container, like a Tupperware box. This will stop any flavoring and seasoning from coming off and coating the inside of the bag.
Overall, the answer to “can you freeze brussel sprouts?” is yes. But, as with freezing pretty much anything, there are a few things to consider before freezing them.
You also need to make sure you follow the process properly to ensure they still taste nice when you take them out of the freezer. (Because if they don’t taste nice, then what’s the point?)