Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable that is good for your health. But you can't always consume it right away and need to store it before you're ready to cook.
If you want to know how long broccoli last and how to store it safely to prolong its freshness, then the answer is that raw broccoli last 2 to 3 days when left at the shelf. You can place broccoli in a refrigerator where it lasts 5 to 7 days, and in a freezer, it can last 3 to 4 months.
Let's talk about this in more depth.
How to tell if broccoli is bad?
Rotten or spoiled broccoli emits a pungent smell that is a tell-tale sign that it has gone bad. Fresh broccoli is bright green with a hard texture. But after a few days, the bright color starts to turn yellow and become limp and slimy with a foul odor.
When buying broccoli, check any damage or bruise to the broccoli. Usually, this expedites the rotten process. Remember that not all limped broccoli is rotten. You can revitalize the broccoli by placing it in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
The broccoli gets a bad smell due to a compound known as glucosinolates that are abundantly present. After you cut the broccoli stem, it releases an enzyme known as myrosinase. The chemical reaction of glucosinolates and myrosinase generates sulforaphane, which smells bad.
Another way you can identify bad broccoli is by looking at its crown. A rotten broccoli crown turns light yellow or black. You can throw it out when that happens.
How long does broccoli last in the fridge?
The shelf life of broccoli depends on the storage condition and its overall freshness. Broccoli that has been just removed from the plant last longer than the one that has been under transportation and storage space for several weeks.
Many people wonder how long does frozen or cooked broccoli last in the fridge or freezer. Here is a quick summary of how long broccoli lasts under various circumstances.
How Long It Last
1 - 2 days (Over the counter)
5 - 7 days (Fridge)
2 - 3 month (Freezer)
4 - 5 days (Fridge)
2 - 3 month (Freezer)
2 - 3 days
Like broccoli, cauliflower lasts 4–7 days in the fridge and around three months in a freezer. Always pay attention to the overall texture and perform smell tests on vegetables before cooking or eating raw.
You must eat fresh and disease-free produce. Err at the side of caution, and if it tastes bitter or bland, then toss it out or put it in compost.
Why broccoli gets black spots?
Most black spots of broccoli happen due to mold growing on the crown. This happens due to excessive moisture in the broccoli, or simply it has been stored long enough.
The black spots and discolouration are a sure sign that broccoli is getting worse and shouldn't be consumed anymore. This is why you don't wash it before storing it in the refrigerator as it expedites the development of mold.
The black spots may also develop due to bruises or damage to the broccoli. It happens during the transportation and storage of broccoli before the retailers put it for sale.
If the rest of the broccoli is still fresh, you can cut the damaged part and eat the remaining. Also, before broccoli turns black, it will turn yellow as it ages.
The color change is most prominent at the florets. The color change happens due to the breakdown of chlorophyll inside it and the trigger of ethylene.
Broccoli is highly perishable, and once removed from the ground, the decomposing process starts. The color change, water loss, and smell are signs that it's about to go bad.
When you see the broccoli changing into yellow or black color, it means it has lost its crispiness and nutrients inside it. You should consume these first; otherwise, you have to throw it out.
How to vacuum seal broccoli?
You can vacuum seal vegetables to preserve the freshness and its nutrients. The sealed airtight container or plastic bag slows the breakdown process inside the plant.
The broccoli is part of the cruciferous or cabbage family, and this group of vegetables emits gas when stored. If you seal it without treating it first, the gas inside the bag rots the broccoli.
This is why you need to blanch it first. The blanching process hinders and slows down the enzymes responsible for producing gas that rot the broccoli.
After you have blanched the broccoli, you can safely vacuum it and store it in the freezer. Here is a quick video on how to blanch and freeze properly.
How to cut and store broccoli to last it longer?
You can extend the shelf life of broccoli by cutting and storing it in a freezer that slows down the plant's decomposition process. However, that doesn't mean it won't lose taste and texture if stored for too long.
Broccoli and other vegetables remain fresh if it can have fresh air surrounding it. Here are the two most common ways you can store it properly. It allows broccoli to stay fresh whenever you decide to eat it.
Place broccoli in water vase
This is the easiest and most effective way to store broccoli for a few days without compromising the quality. You group broccoli like a bouquet and place it in a glass or jar with a couple of inches of water.
Make sure the broccoli stem is submerged in the water and can suck water. Keep the crown outside the air so it can breathe, and if possible, place it where it can also get some sunlight. In this way, you can store broccoli for the next 2–3 days and will remain taste fresh.
Wrap it in a damp cloth
Another method to keep broccoli fresh is to wrap it in a damp paper towel before storing it in a refrigerator. The moisture in the paper towel keeps it fresh.
Don't wash broccoli if you're not ready to consume it immediately. If you wash it, ensure that it's adequately dried as excess moisture causes the molds to grow at the crown.
Storing it in this way can make broccoli last 3–4 days without losing too much freshness.
Freezing allows you to store broccoli for several months. You can quickly freeze it by cutting it into smaller pieces and blanch it.
If you have never blanched vegetables before and want to know how to blanch broccoli, then to blanch, you boil the cut pieces of broccoli for three to four minutes.
You take out the pieces from the pot and immediately move it in ice-cold water for another three minutes.
You drain the water and dry the blanched broccoli with a paper towel or even a hairdryer. Make sure there is no excess moisture in the broccoli.
You can bag the blanched broccoli in an airtight container or plastic bag and put it in a freezer where you can store it for several months.
Broccoli is a perishable vegetable and eventually go bad if not consumed or stored correctly. Broccoli, when eaten fresh, is full of nutrients and taste delicious. But you can store it in a freezer or refrigerator for a much longer duration.
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