One day you decide you would stop eating fast food and start eating healthier for once. Then you remembered you bought that broccoli recently, and now is the perfect time to eat it.
You open your fridge only to find out your only healthy option has gone bad! But how did this happen and what caused it?
This green, little tree certainly awakens bad memories from younger days. But you somehow grew to like it over time and to tell you the truth, you certainly should. Because, in case you didn’t know, broccoli is a powerful plant rich with nutrients, high fibers, vitamins C, A, B6, and potassium. Plus, it’s a fat-free vegetable with only 31 calories per serving. Moreover, broccoli is stacked with antioxidants, and don’t let us even start on health benefits!
Buying broccoli only to find it spoiled after some time can be a waste of money. You probably wondered what the actual broccoli shelf time is, and can you do something to preserve its freshness?
Luckily for you, we took research on ourselves and brought you the complete guide on how long does broccoli last and also some storage tips. Without further ado, let’s get right to it!
How Long Does Broccoli Last?
If stored properly, the lifespan of broccoli can go from 3 days to 1 year. When speaking about broccoli’s lifespan, it is also crucial whether it is raw, cooked, or chopped.
Fresh broccoli can last up to 14 days in the refrigerator. Chopped raw broccoli can last up to 3 days or so before it starts to dry out, if properly stored in the refrigerator. The lifespan of cooked broccoli is even shorter than the fresh ones, and it can last up to 5 days.
Either way, you should always keep in mind that after a few days, it will inevitably start to lose its freshness, natural green color, and nutritional values. So, the sooner you eat it, the better!
How To Store Broccoli?
When you purchase broccoli in the store, you can never know how long it was stored there.
Like other veggies, broccoli doesn’t have the best-before date. Therefore, it’s essential how you store it.
First of all, let us say that if you thought of storing your broccoli at room temperature, it’s a terrible idea. This way, your broccoli will last only two days, and if so, it will be wilted.
On the other hand, the fridge is an excellent place to store your broccoli. When appropriately stored in the refrigerator, raw broccoli can last 7-14 days. But there are also some factors you should consider.
For example, don’t wash it before storing it because excess water can cause your broccoli to become moldy and speed up the rotting process. Having said that, you should wash your broccoli when you are about to eat it and not before that.
Another important thing is the humidity. It is best to store broccoli in your vegetable drawer and not in the upper part of your fridge, to prevent drying out.
But what about cooked broccoli? Well, don’t worry if you made extra for lunch. If you store it properly, it won’t be a waste. Simply put it in a plastic airtight container or wrap it with a plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Stored like this in the fridge, it can stay good for 3-5 days.
How To Keep Your Broccoli Fresh
A vegetable like broccoli needs moisture and cold environment to stay fresh for a more extended period. But not too cold, because it can dry out and lose its flavors and nutritional values. The good thing is that you can use a few tricks to extend your broccoli’s shelf life:
1. Bowl With Water
- Put your broccoli in a bowl with the head pointing up, like a bouquet. Pour a half-inch of water into the pan and refrigerate it. Change the water daily. This way, it can stay fresh for up to 10 days!
2. Damp Paper Towel
- Moist your broccoli with cold water, then gently wrap it with a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb moisture; thus, broccoli will have sufficient humidity. Keep it in the refrigerator, and remember that broccoli needs air and moisture to stay crisp.
3. Plastic Bag
- Another straightforward but efficient method is using a plastic bag. Simply put your broccoli in the plastic bag and make some holes. As we already mentioned, broccoli needs air to stay fresh.
4. Freeze It
- Ultimately, the best way to keep your broccoli fresh in the longer-term is freezing it. To do so, you can chop it, wash it and boil it for a few minutes. After that, make sure to dry it first and then put it in sealed bags. This way, it can last up to 1 year and can be added directly to a dish while cooking!
How To Clean Broccoli Properly?
In terms of health, it is vital to wash your broccoli correctly before eating it to remove dirt, bugs, and even pesticides. There are a few efficient ways to do it, and we are giving you three very useful in this article:
Washing Broccoli With Water
- Soak the broccoli in water for 5-15 minutes. Warm water will wilt the plant’s florets, so make sure to use cold water. After some time, give it a swirl, and wash it with your hands thoroughly. To remove dirt and debris on the head of your broccoli, just rub it with your hands or brush.
Washing Broccoli With Vinegar Solution
- Mix water and vinegar in a 3:1 ratio in a bowl. Place broccoli in this solution upside down, so the flower head of the broccoli is submerged completely. Swirl it a little and leave it for 15-20 minutes to soak. After 20 minutes, rinse it under cold water. The interesting thing is that if you leave it in this solution for over 30 minutes, it will absorb vinegar, giving it a better taste.
Salt And Water Solution
- Place your broccoli in cold water and add 1 tsp of salt, then swirl it a little. Leave the broccoli upside down for about 15-30 minutes to drive out the worms. After that, just rinse it with cold water and rub the head of the broccoli with a brush or your hand. After that, you are ready to go!
How To Tell If Broccoli’s Gone Bad?
Here are a few things you should check in order to know if broccoli has gone bad.
1. Visual Inspection
- Simply check the color of your broccoli. If it’s yellow and not dark green, it means it has started to spoil. The floret parts lose their color and are always the first ones to perish. Sometimes, you can cut off the yellow parts and cook the remains.
- However, some say that this does not mean that the broccoli will poison you. It just simply means it will not taste good as fresh, and it lost its nutritional value. In the end, if you have any doubts, it’s better to just toss it away. Moreover, If it has black spots, it has definitely gone bad.
2. Smell It
- When spoiled, broccoli has a specific rotten egg odor. It’s because broccoli has high levels of sulfur compounds. When they react with water, they form low levels of hydrogen sulfide gas, hence the bad smell. Sadly, If that’s the case, throw it away.
3. Touch It
- If the texture of your broccoli isn’t crisp but rather limp and soft, it is a sign of spoilage. Unfortunately, this broccoli will not taste good, not even cooked. It’s best to toss it.
How Long Does Broccoli Last – Final Word
Overall, broccoli has a short shelf life, and it is very perishable. Its lifespan may depend on several things, but either way, it is important how you store it. Chopped, cooked, or washed broccoli will have a shorter lifetime, while raw will last for a few extra days. You should also always keep it in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve its texture and dark green color.
Yellow color, egg-like odor, dark spots, and soft texture are sure signs your broccoli has gone bad. Broccoli like that isn’t fit for consumption and will have bad taste and no nutritional value. Remember that if you cannot eat it in 2-4 days, you should freeze it before it’s too late. You certainly don’t want your broccoli to go to waste!
Lastly, in case you didn’t know, broccoli can lower cholesterol, prevent eye and heart diseases, help with digestion, and even prevent cancer! Therefore, try including it in a meal at least once a week.