If you take some time to think about it, we all have a couple of bad memories about broccoli. Just try to remember how hard your parents needed to work to persuade you to consider trying this popular veggie. And yet it seems that, as we grow old, this veggie kinda grows on us.
Don’t believe it? Just take a look at the whole slew of delicious recipes, ranging from vegan dishes to Chinese food, that include this popular ingredient.
Yes, it looks like humanity can’t get enough of broccoli. And don’t get us wrong – that’s great. At least if you have a market downstairs or a freezer big enough, so you don’t need to worry about your personal stocks.
But what happens if you only have a refrigerator? Just how long does broccoli last in the fridge? If you are riddled by these questions, you have come to the right place.
Let us try to find the answer to them.
What’s So Great About Broccoli, Anyway?
But before we move to the practical problem, we have to clear some things for the people who are still on the fence in regards to this veggie. We know what you might be asking yourself – why should I even bother with this?
Well, the reasons are actually quite numerous.
Let us start from the beginning. Broccoli is one of the numerous edible green flowers (not unlike artichoke) that has been around for ages now. Although you might think that the popularity of this plant grew with the rise of health awareness and vegetarian movement, we can trace broccoli all the way back to the time of ancient Romans.
And Romans knew what they were doing. Even if they had no clue about it.
You see, broccoli is one healthy food powerhouse stacked with vitamins K and C, potassium, and fiber. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, we will quickly cover some of the most important health benefits brought on the table by this awesome food:
- Broccoli contains health-preserving antioxidants.
- Broccoli reduces inflammation
- Fibers help with blood sugar control.
- Broccoli promotes healthy digestion.
- Some researches indicate the veggie slows down mental decay.
- Vitamin C strengthens the immune system
The list goes on and on. Bottom line – a healthy balanced diet can’t be imagined without this tasty ingredient. Actually, the only thing we can take away from broccoli is that much like other veggies, its quality loses quality during cooking.
But, that is a topic for some other time. We are here to see what happens to broccoli when you put it in the fridge and just how long it can stay there before becoming a mess.
How To Pick The Best Broccoli In The Store
Now, most of the products you can find in the store have their “eat by date” printed somewhere on their package. Broccoli and other fresh vegetables don’t have that privilege.
What does that mean for the time the veggie can spend in the fridge? Well, the time this product can spend in your fridge will, to a large extent, depend on the condition in which you have found it in the store. And taking into consideration that freshly harvested broccoli features a high respiration rate and loses quality rather fast, it is in your best interest to pick the ones that will be able to last the longest.
So, what makes one healthy, enduring broccoli?
Well, let us start by saying that broccoli comes in a lot of different varieties. Some of them are purple or golden. That makes them one hell of a fun addition to your lunch but also a pain in the neck for choosing.
So, we have to rely on good old tricks and workarounds. Generally speaking, the freshly harvested broccoli is easiest to recognize by its weight and the look of the stalks. Ideally, the vegetables should feel hefty for their size, while the cuts on the stalks should be clean and moist.
On the other hand, you should do your best to avoid the broccolis with the yellow florets (if that’s not their original color, of course) and the stems that are slowly picking up the brown color.
If you follow these couple of guidelines, you will make sure that the veggies you have bought will be able to survive in the fridge as long as possible.
What Is The Broccoli’s Shelf Life, And How To Extend It?
So, we are finally going to answer the question that brought us all here – how long does broccoli last in the fridge?
Well, as you can probably guess, the things are not that simple in this regard, either – broccoli is a pretty broad term, at least in a culinary sense. In other words, the shelf life is not the same if you store it in the fridge fresh or cooked.
So, to make things crystal clear, we are going to cover both these options.
How Long Does Fresh Broccoli Last In The Fridge?
- First and foremost, we want to break some good news – broccoli is one very tough plant that can easily survive anywhere between 7 and 14 days in your go-to cooling unit. If you buy the plants when they are still freshly harvested (and we made sure you will), you can bump these numbers to 10 to 15 days.
- As you can see, these margins are pretty broad, so the quality of your food will largely depend on the way you store it. So, let’s take a look at a couple of practical tips that will help you make sure your favorite veggie can live up to its potential.
- First of all, you will need to find yourself a suitable plastic container. Whether you are going to use a plastic box or a bag with a self-sealing zipline is up to you. What’s important to remember is that air-tight containers make every food last longer, and broccoli is no different.
- The second thing you should take into consideration is that dirt and microscopic bacteria that can be often found on the freshly harvested plants can take a massive bite out of their overall shelf life. So, although most of the veggies we can buy in the stores are already washed, you can’t lose anything if you give them another round under the sink.
- When you are done, you have to give broccoli enough time to properly dry out before storing. Wrapping the plants into paper towels will help you to extract excessive moisture. Now that the broccolis have properly dried, all you need to do is to gently put them into the container and seal it off from the rest of the things in the fridge.
- But, remember – the plants need to be safely tucked in rather than squeezed in. Therefore, it is highly advised that you fill the container halfway up before you move to a new one. And there you have it – two weeks of quality fresh broccoli.
How Long Does Cooked Broccoli Last In The Fridge?
- The other common situation that might occur is that you buy a bunch of broccoli, cook all of the plants, and end up with lots of leftovers that are simply too good to be thrown away. Fortunately enough, broccolis retain their awesome stamina even when you sink them into the boiled water.
- This time, though, the numbers are slightly lower, and you can expect to get 6 to 9 days on the shelf.
- Now, let’s see what we can do in order to make sure you get 9 instead of 6.
- Essentially, the storing process is very similar to the one we described above. But, since cooked plants are more fragile than their fresh cousins, you should wrap them into aluminum foil before putting them into the container. Of course, since the broccolis have already been washed and processed, there is no need to wash them again. Just make sure the box is properly sealed.
- When stored like this and put into a freezer, the broccolis can virtually preserve their quality indefinitely. On the average refrigerator temperatures, you will probably be able to push past the day 10.
How To Know The Broccoli Has Gone Bad?
And now that we have answered the question of how long does broccoli last in the fridge and check at a couple of practical storage tips, it is finally the time to tell you how you can know that, in spite of your best efforts, the broccoli is no longer edible.
The first method you should use is the good old smell test. If the vegetables are putting out an unpleasant scent, even the slightest one, it is time for the garbage bean. The second approach you should try is to take the veggies into hands and gently press them. Fresh broccoli will feel strong and healthy, the ones that are past the due time will fall more on the soggy side.
Finally, there is a visual test. Once they go bad, the stalks of the broccoli will start to diminish and start to look a bit yellowish. The same goes for the flower – of course, only as long as you have bought a green variety.
So there you have it- how to properly store broccoli in the fridge 101. We hope you have enjoyed the article. Broccoli is a plant definitely worth eating. And if you can preserve the leftovers as long as possible, more props to you.