Broccoli is a healthy vegetable, rich in vitamins and minerals. It has high dietary fiber and excellent calcium and vitamin C sources. But how is broccoli processed?
Apart from being a popular addition to salads and other raw vegetable dishes, you can process broccoli into different products such as:
- frozen broccoli
- canned broccoli
- chopped broccoli
- pickled broccoli stems
- canned whole or diced broccoli
- dehydrated broccoli powder
The processing of most vegetables involves several steps — from harvesting the raw materials to storing the final product. This article focuses on the essential steps of broccoli production and tries to answer how is broccoli processed.
Before Answering How Is Broccoli Processed – Harvesting And Storage Of Broccoli
The harvesting and storage steps are essential for the quality of fresh broccoli that you will use for processing.
No secret, that broccoli is a very healthy vegetable, full of vitamins and minerals. It is also quite perishable, so it needs to be cleaned and stored correctly to maintain its freshness and nutritional value.
The harvesting stage involves the hand-cutting of broccoli plants, usually followed by quick cooling and packaging of the fresh broccoli.
When the heads are firm, but before they open, they are ready to be harvested. The best way to harvest broccoli is to cut the heads off, leaving about an inch of stalk on the plant.
This way, you will encourage new shoots to grow and produce more broccoli.
It is best to harvest broccoli in the morning or evening when the temperature is between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After harvesting, keep it at this temperature to maintain it fresh for extended periods.
Broccoli harvest takes place at the green (unripe) or purple (fully ripe) stage, depending on the variety.
During the green stage, broccoli will have small heads and some stalk growth. The heads will grow during the purple phase, and the stalk will grow thicker.
The heads must be firm but not overripe if you harvest during the purple stage. The stalk should be green, but it can be allowed to grow slightly thicker than usual.
It’s essential to maintain soil fertility and correct pH levels. This will make sure that the broccoli grows to its full potential.
You can also transplant broccoli when the heads are about the size of a baseball. Leave about 4-6 inches distance between each plant to ensure enough room for the broccoli to grow.
Before packaging broccoli, make sure it has been cleaned and washed thoroughly.
Spraying water on broccoli may reduce the shelf life, so a better option is to wrap the broccoli in a paper towel and place it in the refrigeration unit. By doing this, you will keep your broccoli harvest moist.
The proper storage stage is essential for maintaining the quality of broccoli.
How is broccoli cleaned?
The most simple way to clean broccoli is to cut away the stems and then rinse the heads under running water.
It would help if you used appropriate equipment to rinse the broccoli thoroughly to eliminate any dirt or debris clinging to the stalks. Then you can either store the heads whole or cut the florets from the stem and store them separately.
Broccoli is a very nutritious vegetable; cleaning it correctly will ensure that all its vitamins and minerals are preserved.
Therefore, paying attention to how you clean it is very important. In fact, you must keep a few things in mind while cleaning broccoli to ensure that all its nutrients are preserved.
Once you have collected your broccoli harvest, the first thing that you must do is to make sure that it is completely dry. If harvested broccoli remains wet for an extended period, then it can start to rot and decay.
The best way to dry the broccoli is to leave it in well-ventilated storage for about a day or two. Ensure your warehouse has ample exposure to fresh air and maintains a stable storage temperature.
How Is Broccoli Processed? Broccoli Processing Equipment
Choosing the right broccoli processing equipment will let you process your harvest most efficiently and profitably.
The main industrial-scale broccoli processing steps include the following:
- chopping and then storing the freezer
Let’s analyze some of these processing steps in more detail.
Drying of Broccoli
The broccoli is dried either in a domestic or an industrial dehydrator. The broccoli is dried at a temperature ranging from 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should dehydrate broccoli to a moisture content of 8-10%. The broccoli can be dried in a drum dryer or a conveyor dryer. The drum dryer consists of a large rotating drum with perforated sides through which the air is passed.
The broccoli is put on the perforated drum, and heated air is passed over it. The drum dryer is more suitable for small-scale domestic operations.
The major drawback of the drum dryer is that it is difficult to control the moisture content of the broccoli.
The industrial dryer is similar to the drum dryer in that heated air is passed over the broccoli. The difference is that fans force the airflow through the broccoli, ensuring better air circulation inside the machine. This way, the industrial dryer is suitable for large-scale operations.
The major advantage is that it can be easily controlled to attain the desired moisture content.
Blanching of Broccoli
Blanching is the process of heating broccoli in boiling water for a short period to inactivate the enzymes that cause the browning and wilting of broccoli.
After blanching broccoli, one important thing to do is to reduce the time needed for the broccoli to cool down. This is essential for retaining the color of broccoli.
Blanching broccoli in water is the most common method used by processors, but steam blanching is also used.
The advantage of steaming broccoli is that it reduces the loss of vitamins compared to blanching in water. Blanching broccoli in water or steam takes about 2-3 minutes, depending on the quantity of broccoli being blanched.
Blanching broccoli reduces the bacterial content in the broccoli, which is an essential addition to the process of broccoli processing.
Shredding of Broccoli
Shredding of broccoli is usually done to reduce the volume of broccoli. This simple process makes it easy to pack and store your harvest.
Shredding broccoli is similar to shredding other vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes. You just need a piece of appropriate shredding equipment suitable for the volumes of your harvest.
Canning of Broccoli
Canning is a well-known method of food preservation by placing it in an airtight container and heating the contents to a high temperature to kill the microorganisms that cause food spoilage.
The process of canning broccoli is similar to canning other vegetables.
First, the broccoli has to be blanched. Then, the broccoli is diced or sliced into small pieces and placed in jars or cans. The jars or cans are then placed in a pressure cooker and sterilized.
The vegetables are allowed to cool before they are placed in the refrigerator.
How To Sell Broccoli?
After answering the question of how is broccoli processed, you must also ask yourself – how to sell broccoli?
For the last few years, broccoli has been ranked among the most popular vegetables in the United States. Health-conscious consumers are always looking for new ways to incorporate more broccoli into their diet.
This is excellent news if you are a broccoli grower, as it means more potential customers for your product.
Growing broccoli is not difficult, but you can do a few things to make your product more attractive to shoppers and increase your profits.
The best way to sell broccoli at scale is to package it in a way that makes it more desirable. The best way to do this is to pair it with something else that consumers already want.
For example, let’s say you have a broccoli and cheese casserole recipe that you want to sell. Rather than just focusing on the broccoli and cheese casserole, you can package it in an easy-to-make meal with chicken and rice.
The broccoli casserole will help to add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your customers’ diets. It will also be something that most people want to try.
You can also sell broccoli as a side. Most people do not mind eating broccoli as a side dish to their main entree.
Broccoli is a healthy vegetable, rich in vitamins and minerals. It has high dietary fiber content and is also excellent calcium and vitamin C source.
Broccoli can be processed in many ways, including drying, blanching, shredding, canning, juicing, and others.The broccoli processing starts with harvesting broccoli from the fields, followed by drying, blanching, shredding, and canning.
There are many benefits of industrial broccoli processing, including being shelf-stable and able to be stored for long periods.