Vegetables

5 Beginner-Friendly Methods of Dehydrating Broccoli

dehydrating broccoli

The wonders of broccoli

Broccoli is an edible green vegetable that belongs to the family Brassicaceae. It produces green or purple flower heads that contain helpful nutrients and phytochemicals. Broccoli is rich in vitamins and minerals, fibers, and anti-oxidants. According to research, you should eat broccoli raw to fully absorb its nutrients.

Fresh broccoli is a good source of Vitamin C that gives the body extra-immunity. It is also rich in Vitamin A that maintains eye health. Broccoli leaves contain high amount of carotenoids essential for the immune system. The flower head of this plant is a good source of folate for normal fetal development. Steamed broccoli flower can be a rich source of myrosinase. It is an important phytochemical that helps prevent the body against diseases. Broccoli is also one of the few vegetables that possess antidiabetic properties.

Beginner-Friendly Methods of Dehydrating Broccoli

The broccoli vegetable is perishable and has a short shelf life. You need to dehydrate broccoli to preserve its nutrients. Dehydration is the process of removing moisture from fruits and vegetables. It inhibits the growth of yeast, molds and bacteria that cause spoilage. Here are the different methods used in dehydrating broccoli:

Dehydrating broccoli in the food dehydrator

It produces the best result compared to other dehydration methods. Dehydrators have vents and a fan for good air circulation. They also dehydrate broccoli florets fast and evenly.

STEPS:

  1. Wash broccoli flowers using running water.
  2. Soak the florets in saltwater for 5-10 minutes, then rinse. This is to remove insect eggs and other dirt in the florets. (if saltwater is not available, add 3 tablespoons of rock salt in 1 liter of water)
  3. Cut the florets into thinner pieces. Make sure they have the same size to ensure uniform dehydration.
  4. If you want more brittle florets, blanch or steam the cut broccoli flowers first for 5-8 minutes. It will also make the florets greener.
  5. Arrange them on the dehydrator tray. Use more dehydrator trays if necessary.
  6. Set the dehydrator to 140°F-180°F and let it run for 6-8 hours.
  7. Check the florets if they are ready. Get one piece and break it in half. It should be as crispy as a potato chip.
  8. Allow the dehydrated broccoli chips to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Store the dried florets in an airtight container. Place the container in a dry, clean, and well-ventilated room.

READ ALSO: Which Food Dehydrator is Right for You

Dehydrating broccoli in the microwave

It is an easy and fast method of broccoli dehydration.

STEPS:

  1. Wash the broccoli flowers, then soak in salt water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cut the florets into thinner pieces. You may also add the stems of the broccoli. Make sure they have the same size to ensure uniform dehydration.
  3. Arrange the florets on the microwave tray. Provide space between the florets to allow the air to circulate around them.
  4. Set the microwave oven to ‘defrost’ to ensure that they will be cooked evenly. Then, microwave the broccoli for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the process!
  5. Check the florets. If they are still moist, microwave again for 10 minutes.

Store the dried florets in an airtight container or canning jars. Then place the container in a dry and well-ventilated room.

Dehydrating broccoli in the oven

It is a slower process of dehydrating broccoli. Ovens do not have built-in fans for air movement.

STEPS:

  1. Wash the broccoli flowers and stems, then soak in salt water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cut the florets and the broccoli stems into thinner pieces. Make sure they have the same size to ensure uniform dehydration.
  3. Arrange the cut florets and broccoli stems on the oven tray. Provide space between slices to allow air to circulate.
  4. Place the tray inside the oven. Set the heat to 140°F or use the ‘keep warm’ setting.
  5. Prop the oven door when drying. To improve air circulation, place an electric fan in front of the open door.

Store the dried broccoli in glass jars and airtight containers. Then place them in cool, dry, and dark areas.

Solar or Sun dehydrating broccoli

It is the natural way of dehydrating broccoli. Solar dehydrating requires constant exposure to direct sunlight. It also needs a relative humidity of less than 20%.

STEPS:

  1. Wash broccoli flowers and stems using running water.
  2. Soak them in salt water for 5-10 minutes, then rinse. This is to remove insect eggs and other dirt in the florets.
  3. Cut the florets into thinner pieces. Make sure they have the same size to ensure uniform dehydration.
  4. Place a clean cloth on a drying tray. Then, arrange the florets and stems on the tray. Make sure there is space between the slices.
  5. Cover the tray with a clear glass to speed up the drying process. This will also protect the broccoli from bugs and other insects.
  6. Bring the tray outside. Place it in an open space with direct sunlight. Make sure that the temperature outside is 80°F – 90°F or higher.
  7. Let it dry for 2-4 days. Turn the florets and stems every 3 hours. Don’t forget to bring the tray inside at night or when raining.

Store them in an airtight container. Place the container in a dry, clean, and well-ventilated room.

Freeze dehydrating/freeze drying broccoli

Also called lyophilization, it is the process of removing the moisture from a fruit or vegetable using a vacuum or a freezer.

STEPS:

  1. Wash the broccoli flowers and stems, then soak in salt water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cut florets and broccoli stems into thinner pieces. Make sure they have the same size to ensure uniform dehydration.
  3. Arrange them on a tray and cover the tray with a clean cloth.
  4. Put the tray in the freezer overnight. Set the freezer at the lowest temperature possible. Check if they turn frozen solid.
  5. Let it stay in the freezer for another two weeks. Keep the freezer door closed to avoid ice crystals from developing on the florets.
  6. Take one floret out and check if it’s dry. It should not change in color. If it turned black after a few minutes, it is not dry yet.

Pack them into heavy-duty freezer bags or vapor-proof freezer cartons. Then store them in the freezer. Freeze-dried broccoli can stay in the freezer for up to one year.

Using any of the methods discussed above will help you prolong and enjoy the benefits of broccoli.