At 49 mg per ½ cup serving, broccoli is a great source of vitamin C. That is, unless you destroy it while cooking. As a water soluble vitamin, the more contact vitamin C has with high temperatures and boiling water, the greater the chance you will lose its health benefits during the cooking process. Blanching is a way to partially cook broccoli, while preserving both its flavor and health benefits. Blanching is essential when you plan on freezing fresh broccoli.
Cut off the thick, woody stem of each broccoli bunch with a sharp kitchen knife. Separate each stalk into individual florets, and slice large florets in half lengthwise so no floret is more than 1 1/2 inches wide.
Wash the florets in a colander under cold running water.
Fill an 8- to 10-qt. pot 2/3 full with water and bring the water to a full boil on your stove top. Add the broccoli florets, cover the pot and set a kitchen timer for four minutes.
Remove the broccoli florets from the pot with a large slotted spoon if you will be reusing the water or empty the broccoli into a colander to drain. Serve hot or cool to continue to process for storage.