Does Broccoli Go Bad?

Does broccoli go bad or not? Since it's a vegetable, it obviously does go bad but how can you tell and when is it safe to consume? Find out in this guide.

Why is it that your broccoli goes bad within 3 days?

Maybe you’ve sealed your raw broccoli in a plastic tub, thinking that’s the safest option.

Today, we’re busting all the broccoli storage myths and telling you exactly how to tell if your broccoli is safe to eat.

First: why eat broccoli?

Broccoli is delicious, plus it’s loaded with health benefits. We’re talking vitamins, minerals, antioxidants that protect against free radicals, and active compounds that may help prevent cancer.

What’s the deal with broccoli?

With the right storage methods (think ventilation and a refrigerator), your broccoli can last up to 7 days. For longer storage, look to the freezer. If you’re worried your broccoli is off, the telltale signs are mold, slime, and yellow discoloration.

Ways To Spot A Broccoli That Has Gone Bad

green broccoli

Here are the surefire signs that your broccoli has started to go bad and it’s ready to go in the trash:

  • Yellow discoloring on the heads
  • Soft, slimy stems
  • Moldy spots on the head
  • Bitter smell

How To Store Broccoli

broccoli growing in the garden

When it comes to broccoli, the refrigerator is your best bet.

But you probably knew that already.

You might not have heard of this tip, though: wrap your broccoli loosely in a damp paper towel, instead of leaving it in the plastic bag it comes in or putting it in a sealed container.

Why? Because broccoli needs air circulation to stay fresh.

However, make sure your paper towel is only damp, not drenched, as too much moisture will cause the broccoli to prematurely grow mold. That’s also the reason why you shouldn’t wash your broccoli before putting it in the refrigerator – save that until when you need to use it.

Once you’ve cooked your broccoli, transfer it to an airtight container and replace in the refrigerator.

Here’s the best part: you can also freeze broccoli for extended storage. Here are the steps:

  1. Wash your broccoli.
  2. Cut your broccoli into florets and slice off the stalks.
  3. Steam or blanche your broccoli for 4 minutes.
  4. Pour the pan over a colander and pour running cold water over the broccoli, until completely cooled.
  5. Pat your broccoli dry, then leave to air-cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Transfer your broccoli to freezer bags, squeeze all the air out, then put the bag in the freezer.

The great thing about frozen broccoli florets is that they can be added straight into the pan whilst cooking. Don’t bother thawing them beforehand – freezing destroys broccoli’s cell structure, so they’ll be mushy if you eat them raw.

You can also freeze cooked broccoli or dishes with broccoli in. Just use an airtight container and pop in the freezer.

How Long Broccoli Lasts

plate of broccoli

You can leave broccoli on your counter, but we wouldn’t recommend it. On the counter, your broccoli will last for just 2 days, before it turns yellow and starts going bad.

Expect raw broccoli in the refrigerator to last 4-7 days, depending on how fresh it was when you bought it, the storage methods at the grocery store, and how well your storage environment has been.

Cooked broccoli will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Want anything more than 7 days’ storage time?

Look to the freezer.

Blanched broccoli that you’ve stored in the freezer will last for a mind-boggling 1 year! Make sure you follow our instructions above to make sure it keeps well, though.

So, Does Broccoli Go Bad?

You’ve definitely figured by now that broccoli does indeed go bad.

However, the good news is that it’s pretty easy to spot broccoli that’s not good anymore (look for slimy stem and yellow heads).

The key takeaway?

Raw broccoli needs circulation in the refrigerator, whilst cooked broccoli should go in an airtight container. If you want longer storage times, the freezer’s your friend!

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Alisa Shimoyama
Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.