Although broccoli can be eaten raw, it's at its best when it's cooked. You don't have to subject it to a long and arduous cooking time, however. In many cases, a quick bath in a pot of boiling water will soften it enough to make for pleasant eating, while still preserving a certain toothsomeness and snap -- a condition sometimes called "crisp-tender." Blanching broccoli also turns the vegetable a striking bright jade green shade and helps preserve its nutritional value.
Cut the broccoli into florets. Peel the stems of the broccoli with a vegetable peeler or paring knife and cut the stem into large dice. Discard the woody ends of the stems.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon or 2 of salt.
Add the broccoli to the water. Let cook for 1 minute. The broccoli should turn a bright green color.
Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon or strainer.
Immediately drop the broccoli into a bowl full of ice water. This "shocks" the broccoli and stops it from cooking immediately, while also preserving its bright color.
When the broccoli has cooled enough to handle, about 1 minute, remove it from the water bath and drain in a colander. Set aside until ready to use or serve immediately.
Blanched broccoli can be stored in the freezer for up to a year in a sealed airtight container.