Does broccoli go bad – how can you tell?

Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable packed with lots of goodness that you can steam, roast or eat it raw. After buying some broccoli from the store you may notice your broccoli gone bad after a few days even after proper storage.

Since I was young, my mum always insisted we all eat all the broccoli she put on my plate. I especially hated it because it didn’t have any taste. As I became older I understood why my mum insisted on us eating broccoli. Now though I don’t eat it that often I make sure to include it in my diet sometimes. Sometimes when I buy some broccoli it takes me a few days to cook it all and I’m not sure if it’s still good to eat.

Broccoli gone bad

How to tell when broccoli has gone bad

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Broccoli is a healthy veggie that adds nutrition to your body because it’s loaded with vitamins C, K, folate, fiber, and potassium. However, all these nutrients are lost if you don’t know how to check whether your broccoli gone bad or not. Here is what to look out for.

  1. Broccoli normally has a green colour, if you notice a yellowish colour on the veggies or it starts to sprout yellow flowers most likely it’s spoiled. Broccoli that is good to eat is usually dark green in colour.
  2. Fresh broccoli has a very firm feel. It has a very firm stem and trunk but when it gets stale it starts to absorb moisture which makes the veggie soggy and it loses its firm feel.
  3. The presence of mold in any part of the veggie is a clear indication that your broccoli gone bad. The broccoli may have a yellow appearance or have irregular formations.
  4. The texture of the broccoli is also a great indicator that can help you know when your broccoli has gone bad. The broccoli may have a white or slimy texture which means it’s time to throw it away.
  5. When broccoli is fresh it doesn’t have any smell and if it does it’s very faint. When it goes bad you will notice a very strong moldy smell that you ill smell in the whole fridge. The smell is a bitter, irritating, and a quite overpowering rotting odour.
  6. Bad broccoli will have slippery spots on the buds. It will start to wilt and form holes on the florets of the broccoli.

Does broccoli go bad – how to store broccoli

You can either store broccoli in the fridge for a short time or freeze it to prolong its shelf life.

how to store brocolli

Image: Adobe stock

Storing for the short term

  1. An unconventional but very effective way of keeping your broccoli fresh is putting it in water the same way as flowers. Put some water in a bowl and dip the broccoli stem in the water then refrigerate. This will keep it fresh for 5-7 days or cover the broccoli with a plastic bag with holes to help air circulate and change the water daily for optimum freshness.
  2. Another way is to gently mist the broccoli heads with cold water then loosely wrap the heads with paper towels to absorb the moisture then put it in the fridge. It will stay fresh for about three days. Don’t wrap it too tightly or place it in a sealed container.
  3. The easiest way to keep your broccoli fresh is to put it in a plastic bag and make holes to ensure good air circulation. Keep it in the fridge and it will stay fresh for a few days.
  4. You don’t need to clean store-bought broccoli but if your broccoli is homegrown you need to remove the insects and any debris from the garden. In a large bowl put warm water and some white vinegar. Soak the broccoli for 15 minutes to kill any insects and remove dirt hiding between the florets. Rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly before refrigerating.

Freezing broccoli

  • Frozen broccoli can stay fresh for more than one year but first, you have to blanch the veggie and you will need a large bowl of boiling water and another one of ice water. Slice the broccoli heads into small portions of 1-inch on both sides. This will ensure the heads are blanched evenly.
  • Put them in boiling water for about three minutes and stir periodically. This will help preserve the broccoli by killing the bacteria and enzymes helping to maintain its properties after being frozen.
  • Drain the hot water then put them in the ice water and soak for 3 minutes and make sure all side have touched the cold water.
  • Remove the broccoli from the ice water and let it rest tossing it after some time to allow any moisture to drain. After some time pat with a paper towel to wipe excess moisture.
  • Put the broccoli in an air-tight plastic bag and put it in the freezer.

With the above information, you can identify when does broccoli go bad

Eating broccoli can be a great experience but you first have to store it properly so that it doesn’t go bad quickly. You also need to know how to identify when broccoli has gone bad like through smell, texture, stem softness, etc. so that you don’t eat spoiled broccoli.Watch this to learn more on bad broccoli.


How do you make broccoli last longer?

Consume fresh broccoli as soon as possible as it doesn’t stay fresh for long. You can also mist the heads and wrap with paper towels and refrigerate.

Can you eat discoloured broccoli?

Broccoli turns yellow when it starts to dry out but as long as it’s not rotting or slimy you can eat it. It’s less nutritious and it won’t taste as good.

How long does broccoli last once cooked?

If cooked broccoli is properly stored in the fridge it can last 3-5 days. You can also freeze it in an air-tight container to extend its shelf life.

Is it okay to eat broccoli when it turns brown?

If it’s the brown variety it’s okay to eat but if it’s the green broccoli throw it away. It will have an awful taste and it won’t have any nutrients left.

Why does broccoli turn brown?

When you overcook broccoli you break the cell walls which releases acids that turn the green chlorophyll to a gray colour. The broccoli may have a yellowish or brownish colour.


A diet guru by day and an avid reader by night, Tim is a nutritionist based in the beautiful city of Ottawa, Canada. He loves everything to do with health and believes going the natural and organic way is a necessity. When not busy disapproving of people’s diet choices, you can find him taking online classes for this and that while waiting for his cheat day. Tim also loves white sandy beaches, swimming (anything aquatic, really), long drives to the countryside, and travels to new cities and states. He also loves DIY projects and checking out new restaurants with his girlfriend.

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