Broccoli is a favorite vegetable for many people. This green vegetable has a distinctive look, texture, and taste. And the demand for this vegetable is high because it belongs to the top choice of food for dieters worldwide.
This healthy and nutritious vegetable is classified under cruciferous vegetables because it contains compounds that can fight and prevent cancer. Yes, broccoli is loved by many. Hence, this vegetable also deserves good care.
This post will discuss storage, shelf life, and signs of spoilage of broccoli to preserve its quality.
Let’s go and learn something new today!
(Also Read: 7 Vegetable Power Soup + New Goals!)
How to Store Broccoli?
Broccoli is usually displayed in the unrefrigerated section of many supermarkets. Once you get home, you can store the broccoli in a cool, dry place or cold storage. If you want your broccoli to stay longer, do it right by choosing the best and freshest one you can find at the grocery store. Ensure that the broccoli you choose is firm, with new stems, and deep green colored head.
Here is the thing. Never store your broccoli inside an airtight bag or container in the fridge! Yes, you can keep the broccoli in the refrigerator but note that this vegetable has to breathe to thrive and stay fresh. And, you better not cut the broccoli if you are not to use it immediately. If you did, it would age faster than the uncut ones in the storage.
Here are some methods we suggest for you to choose:
Use a paper towel
Forget about plastic bags and just use paper towels. You don’t have to wash your broccoli before storing, for it may accumulate too much moisture that might encourage mold growth.
Next, wrap the damped paper towel loosely around your broccoli before you store it in the refrigerator. The damped paper towel will serve as a healthy, breathable, and moist environment for your broccoli. With this method, your broccoli will stay fresh for three to five days.
When it is already time for you to use it, wash it thoroughly before cooking.
Make a broccoli bouquet
Let that creative side of you take over and treat your fresh broccoli as if they are a bouquet of roses. How? Just put the broccoli in a vase with water! Yes, we’re not kidding.
Fill a vase with water and submerge the broccoli’s stem into the water. There you have it! A green broccoli bouquet for your fridge! Yes, you will need to put it in the refrigerator and replace the water daily. You can keep it this way for three to five days.
The ideal refrigerator temperature is 35 °F to 40 °F.
Pickling. You will mainly need a combination of vinegar and salt so that you can preserve your broccoli for a more extended period. The vinegar and salt will serve as an acidic environment that can stop the microbial activity. Make sure to keep the bottle of pickled broccoli covered before storing it in the refrigerator.
Pressurized canning. Pressure cooking works better than water bath canning because you get to cook the food in a pressure cooker with a temperature of 250 °F to destroy any bacterial spores of Clostridium botulinum.
To preserve the quality of your broccoli, always bear in mind to apply proper hygiene and food safety practices so that you can help prevent foodborne illness.
Is it okay to freeze broccoli?
Of course, you can. Freezing it will last up to a year. Here is what you need to do before you store your broccoli in the freezer:
- Divide the broccoli into small florets.
- Prepare a pot of boiling water and have the broccoli florets blanched for three minutes. Make sure that you have already prepared an ice water bath. This is where you have to immediately submerge your blanched broccoli to cook it down quickly and help stop further cooking.
- Drain the water and use a paper towel to dry the broccoli to remove excess water.
- Keep the blanched broccoli in an airtight container before freezing it.
The ideal freezer temperature is below zero °F.
Here are methods that you can use in thawing or defrosting your frozen broccoli.
- Use the microwave. Place your frozen broccoli in a microwavable container and set it to thawing mode.
- Refrigerate it overnight. If you plan to cook it the next day, you can take it out of the freezer, place it on a plate or container, then refrigerate. That’s what you called slow thawing.
- Coldwater bath. This is another quick way of defrosting your frozen broccoli if you don’t have a microwave.
- Cook the frozen broccoli. You can skip the thawing or defrosting part and toss your frozen broccoli in a soup. Give it time to cook until it is ready for consumption.
- Set it at low heat on a non-stick pan. Put the frozen broccoli on a non-stick pan and set it under low heat to slowly warm it up.
Can it go bad?
Yes, it can. Whether you have raw, cooked, or frozen ones, broccoli is perishable. If you don’t store it properly, its quality will quickly deteriorate. Note that bacteria are everywhere around us. This is why you need to keep it dry and wrapped or covered to minimize its exposure to it.
How long does it last?
Fresh broccoli can last in your refrigerator for 4 to 7 days, and even more. But once it has reached a week, its quality will drop quickly.
Cooked broccoli can stay good in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. But if you want to keep it longer than a week, then consider freezing it.
Frozen broccoli can surprisingly last from 6 to 8 months. However, the quality may deteriorate slowly in the freezer. Frozen broccoli can retain its peak quality for up to three months.
If you have bought some commercialized frozen pack of broccoli, make sure to see the “best by” date or “sell by” date. Typically, manufacturers will label it with a shelf life of 3 months.
Pickled broccoli can stay in the fridge for 4 to 6 months.
How to tell if it has gone bad?
You should know that the freshest ones should have a deep green color for uncooked or raw broccoli, and its texture is firm to the touch. If you notice that it has become soft and limp, and the florets have turned yellow, then that means it has passed its prime quality. And that is a sign that it has aged due to improper storage. Once it loses its color, this broccoli also loses its crispness and nutritional value. Plus, it will continue to wilt until it is rotten. The florets are the one that is quickest to spoil.
If you consume this kind of quality, it won’t immediately make you sick, but the taste won’t be the same as the fresh ones anymore. When you see small brown or black spots on the broccoli’s head, just cut it away.
But, when it comes to the point that your raw broccoli becomes spoiled and odorous with big dark areas or molds, then to get rid of it.
As for cooked broccoli, look for signs of discoloration and smell it. If it looks okay and smells nothing terrible from it, it is most likely okay to use it. Otherwise, throw it away if it smells odorous.
Look for signs of mold growth. If you see fuzzy white stuff on top of the broccoli head, that’s a sign of mold. Hence, discard everything for your safety.
If your broccoli was already added in a dish, the shelf life would depend on the ingredients it has that has the shortest expiry.
Remember that leaving your broccoli under room temperature for more than 2 hours will encourage bacteria to multiply faster.