Why Canning Broccoli is Not Safe and How to Preserve It

Broccoli in jar outside
Canning broccoli is not safe, but broccoli can be preserved by freezing it. Begin by blanching the broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes, then cool it in an ice bath. Drain and dry the blanched broccoli before freezing it on a baking sheet in a single layer for one to two hours. Package the frozen broccoli in airtight freezer bags or containers and keep frozen.

Can Broccoli Be Canned?

Broccoli is not recommended for home canning because the product renders the canning methods unsafe. Broccoli is a low-acid veggie, so water bath canning is not recommended. Canning low-acid foods call for a tried and tested canning process to ensure the removal of potentially harmful bacteria like Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism.

Broccoli would normally have to be pressure canned, but there’s no USDA-approved method for pressure canning broccoli. Moreover, the high temperatures produced when pressure canning the veggie would make it so soft that it would be unpleasant to eat.

Broccoli in a Mason jar surrounded by broccoli florets
Broccoli in a jar

How to Safely Preserve Broccoli

The National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend canning or dehydrating broccoli. Instead, they endorse freezing as the best method for long-term storage of broccoli:

  1. Wash the broccoli heads thoroughly under cool running water. Cut off any tough stems and separate the florets into bite-sized pieces. You can discard, peel, and slice the stem if you like.
  2. Soak the broccoli for a few minutes in a bowl of water to get rid of any remaining dirt or garden pests.
  3. Boil water in a pot, add the broccoli florets to the hot water, and cook for 2–3 minutes. The blanching time depends on the thickness and size of the florets.
  4. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes to stop the cooking process.
  5. Use a colander to drain the broccoli, or pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
  6. Place the blanched broccoli on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for one to two hours.
  7. Transfer the frozen broccoli into freezer bags or airtight containers. Before you seal the bags, get rid of as much air as possible. The package should provide a tight seal to prevent air and moisture entering.
  8. Label the containers or freezer bags with the date and the contents.
  9. Place the packaged broccoli in the freezer and store it for up to 12 months.

Can Broccoli Be Pickled and Stored in Mason Jars?

Yes – some veggies, including eggplant, Brussels sprouts, summer squash, and broccoli, can be canned if pickled first. Pickled vegetables are those that are stored in an acidic brine and kept in a refrigerator to preserve them. However, refrigerator pickles do not last as long as canned veggies and should be consumed within a few weeks.

Here’s how to make broccoli refrigerator pickles:

  1. Wash the broccoli heads thoroughly under cold running water. Trim off any tough stems and cut the florets into smaller pieces.
  2. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and any other pickling spices you choose, such as mustard seeds, dill seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and garlic cloves.
  3. Boil the mixture while stirring until the sugar and pickling salt is dissolved.
  4. Put the broccoli pieces into clean, sterilized glass jars.
  5. Pour the hot pickling solution over the broccoli in the jars, ensuring that all the pieces are submerged. Leave 1 inch of headspace at the top of each jar.
  6. Remove any trapped air bubbles by gently tapping the jars on a towel-covered countertop or using a bubble popper or a plastic utensil.
  7. Use a clean kitchen cloth to wipe the jar rims clean, place the lids on top, and tighten the bands.
  8. Allow the jars to reach room temperature before storing them in the refrigerator. Allow the pickles to soak for 48 hours before enjoying them.
Jar of broccoli pickles surrounded by fresh vegetables
Pickled broccoli

Can Broccoli Soup Be Canned?

Yes, broccoli soup is a low-acid food that can be safely pressure canned. Soups that contain vegetables or low-acid ingredients should be pressure canned to prevent botulism. Food safety experts warn against adding thickening agents, such as milk, cream, pasta, flour, or rice, to canned soups as doing so would make them unsafe.

Follow the below steps on how to safely can broccoli soup:

  1. Make your broccoli soup using a tested broccoli soup recipe. Cook it fully and season it to your liking.
  2. Once your soup is ready, ladle it hot into sterilized canning jars, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top. Use a flat plastic utensil to remove any trapped bubbles.
  3. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth, put the lids on, and seal them.
  4. Process the filled jars in a pressure canner following the manufacturer’s instructions and the specific guidelines for canning low-acid foods, usually for 60 to 75 minutes, adjusting for altitude accordingly.
  5. After processing, turn off the heat and allow the pressure canner to depressurize naturally. Take the jars out of the canner and place them on a cooling rack or a towel and let them cool for 12-24 hours undisturbed.
  6. Check if the lids have been sealed properly by pressing down on the center of each lid. It should be firm and shouldn’t move or make a popping sound.
  7. Label the jars with the contents and the date of canning for easy reference, and store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
Bowl of broccoli soup
Broccoli soup

How to Store Fresh Broccoli

The refrigerator is the best place to store fresh broccoli, but like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli prefers to have some breathing space. Keep it loosely wrapped or in a perforated plastic bag so that it receives airflow.

Before storing fresh broccoli, avoid washing it because the extra moisture could promote the growth of mold. Wash the broccoli when you are ready to eat it within 3 to 5 days.

How Long Can Broccoli Be Preserved For?

Broccoli keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, whether raw or cooked. Broccoli will last in the freezer for 10 to 12 months.


Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic canning is by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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