Sometimes one little change in methods can make a huge difference in outcome. On arriving home from vacation, I was faced with a generous bushel of broccoli from my garden. Doing the pre-freezing salt water soak by loads in the sink, or even a large mixing bowl, was going to take hours. I needed to get through the whole process in one day. Fortunately, one of the 10 gallon plastic tubs that we had just unloaded vacation food stuffs from was fresh in my memory.
The tub was filled with about 8 gallons of water, to which I added roughly 1.75 cups of cheap table salt. Half of the broccoli fit in this super sized salt water bath. My professional chef daughter, who loves to touch food, swished the broccoli around to get coverage on the top layer that tries to float, while she laughed triumphantly at the unsuspecting earwigs. We put the lid on and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, but not too much longer.
I had decided against doing the salt water soak in the real bathtub for logistical reasons. Too far to carry things when I could just scoot the plastic tub a couple of feet to get it next to the kitchen sink. Vacation had limited my application of insecticidal soap, so there were aphids to try to wash off. Some agitation in a sink of water, followed by spraying with the sink nozzle dislodged many of them. Only a few cups of broccoli had to be donated to the 3 chickens.
When the first load of broccoli was all out of the tub, I looked at the water to decide if it could be recycled for the second batch. My 16 year old daughter happened to be walking through the kitchen as I mused aloud about the insects floating on the top. She suggested a wire mesh strainer with a coffee filter, and kindly agreed to perform the operation. She used one coffee filter scooping up the insects, then switched to skimming the top of the water with the unlined mesh strainer. The last of the broccoli was soaking in the salt water within a few minutes and the actual blanching and freezing process was going full swing by 10 AM. Eight hours later, I was putting the last of it in the freezer and dreaming of broccoli with cheese sauce all winter long.