Broccoli! A green and nutritious vegetable comes from the cabbage family. Because of its nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and various minerals, we add it to our diet. Sometimes we bring a surplus amount of broccoli and end up finding it spoiled after some days. It is important to know the different storage practices to prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of broccoli.
Shelf Life of Broccoli
The type of broccoli, storage practice, and its initial freshness are some important factors that are responsible for the shelf life of broccoli.
Fresh broccoli: Fresh broccoli can be good in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.
Frozen broccoli: 6 to 8 months are enough for broccoli to stay good in the freezer. But the quality will be maintained for 3 months. After that, its quality starts deteriorating.
Cooked broccoli: Cooked broccoli may last 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can keep it in the freezer if you want to extend its shelf life for a week.
Store-bought frozen broccoli: You can use broccoli according to its ‘use by’ date. Usually, it is for 3 months.
Pickled broccoli: It can stay good for up to 6 to 8 months in the refrigerator.
Signs of Freshness
Stem & Texture: Examine whether the stem of broccoli is firm and florets are tightly closed to see its freshness.
Smell: Check if broccoli gives any unpleasant odor as it is a sign of its spoilage. Fresh broccoli always gives a mild earthy aroma like fresh-cut grass.
Touch: Touch broccoli’s florets to feel its firmness. Firmness in florets is a sign of freshness.
Visible mold or decay: Mold-free and decay-free broccoli is an indication of fresh broccoli.
Broccoli with a firm stem and florets should be selected from the store. It helps to maximize its freshness. Storing in a cool, dry place is essential. Sometimes you feel confused about whether to store it in an airtight bag or not as it needs some space to breathe and stay fresh. Let’s go through all the essential practices you can follow to store broccoli and extend its shelf life.
Paper Towel or Airtight Bag, Which is Better?
Don’t use an airtight bag. Opt for paper towels which allow broccoli to breathe and stay fresh. Moisture promotes mold growth. So, don’t wash it before storing it as it can cause moisture. Wrap the slightly wet paper towel loosely around the broccoli before storing it. This storage practice will keep your broccoli fresh for three to five days.
Cut or Uncut Broccoli?
Should I cut broccoli or not before storing it in the refrigerator? Uncut broccoli can lose its freshness faster compared to cut broccoli. It’s better to not cut it if you don’t need to use it immediately.
Moisture can be the cause of premature wilting in the stem. Remove the leaves from broccoli before storing them as they release moisture.
Does Freezing Extend the Life of Broccoli?
Storing the broccoli in the freezer is also good. But after some months it starts losing its quality and freshness if you store it in the freezer.
How to Extend the Shelf Life of Broccoli Through Various Methods?—
Freezing is an effective method to extend the shelf life of broccoli. You can extend the shelf life of broccoli up to 6 to 8 months, sometime a year by using this method.
You can dehydrate the broccoli and store it in an airtight container for several months. When you want to use it, rehydrate it.
Prepare the pickle with broccoli, salt, and vinegar. Salt and vinegar produce an acidic environment which may prevent microbial activity.
Common Storage Mistakes
Washing broccoli before storing: Don’t wash broccoli before storing because washing broccoli before storing contributes to the accumulation of moisture. Moisture promotes mold and decay.
Storing unwrapped broccoli: Wrap the paper towel around the broccoli to prevent decay and wilting.
Not removing the leaves: Remove the leaves from broccoli before storing them as leaves on broccoli may promote excess moisture.
Keeping improper refrigerator temperature: Set your refrigerator at or slightly below 32°F (0°C) to keep your broccoli good.
Using an airtight bag: Airtight bag is not a good way to store broccoli as it does not allow broccoli to breathe. Use a paper towel instead.
How to Utilize Overripe Broccoli?
Instead of throwing overripe broccoli, you can use it in different ways.
To make soup, simmer the chopped broccoli with garlic, vegetable broth, onions and seasoning.
Stir-fry the overripe broccoli carrots, bell peppers, and other stir-fry vegetables and pour stir-fry sauce.
Make a pickle from overripe broccoli and brine made out of vinegar and salt.
Use overripe broccoli to make vegetable broth. Combine it with vegetables, herbs and spices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Broccoli’s types, initial freshness, and storage practices are the factors that are responsible for the shelf life of broccoli.
Fresh broccoli lasts 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.