Broccoli is a highly perishable vegetable that requires the best storage methods to prolong its shelf life. Although you can store broccoli at room temperature, you should be prepared to use it in 2 days time as it wilts really fast.
It is therefore recommended to refrigerate it once u get it from the grocery store or freeze it if you don’t intend to use it sooner to keep it fresh for long.
Simply put the stem of the broccoli in a jar with 1 inch of water leaving the florets out of the jar then loosely cover with a plastic bag and put in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Best ways to store broccoli
Wash broccoli only when you are ready to use it as the excess moisture tends to promote mold growth.
Store raw broccoli in a well-ventilated place and avoid wrapping it tightly or putting it in an airtight container as it needs air circulation to retain its freshness.
Make sure to blanch broccoli before freezing in order to retain the color and flavor throughout the storage period.
Store cut broccoli in airtight containers in the fridge as exposure to air tend to fasten decay.
The cold in the refrigerator keeps broccoli fresh by slowing down the yellowing process and retaining its quality for long. There are two ways that work best for me whenever I want to store broccoli in the fridge.
Storing in a plastic bag
This is a hustle free method that only requires fresh broccoli, a plastic bag and probably 5 minutes of your time. If properly stored broccoli will keep fresh for up to 4 days using the following steps:
- Put fresh broccoli in a loose plastic bag and seal.
- Make holes on the bag round the florets to allow air circulation.
- Place it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Storing in a jar of water
You can easily store broccoli in the fridge with a jar of water using these simple steps:
- Put 1 inch of water in a jar
- Dip the stem of broccoli in the water leaving the florets outside.
- loosely cover the florets with a plastic bag that has holes to allow air circulation.
- Put it in the fridge and ensure to change the water daily.
Properly stored broccoli can keep fresh for up to 5-7 days using this method.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) “Freezing prevents the growth of microorganisms causing both food spoilage and foodborne illness.”
It is recommended to freeze your broccoli once you get it from the grocery store if you don’t intend to use it in the near future. This is because if frozen at peak quality, once thawed it will emerge tasting better than if frozen near the end of its useful life.
Heres how to freeze broccoli:
- Rinse broccoli under running water to remove any soil and pests
- Cut it into your desired size or simply use your hands to split the florets.
- Blanch. Bring a pot of water to boil then put the broccoli in and let them boil for 3 minutes. Drain the water and put them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and pat them dry.
- Flash freeze. Arrange them on a baking tray in a single layer ensuring not to touch each other than freeze for 2-3 hours or until completely frozen.
- Transfer the frozen broccoli to a zipper bag and ensure to remove all air inside before sealing.
- Put the zipper bag in the freezer and use it within 12 months
See also: Best Methods to Store Cauliflower
How to store cut broccoli
Did you just cut broccoli then realized it is too much for your recipe? Simply put it in an airtight container then put it in the fridge. In the absence of a container, put the cut broccoli in a plastic bag and ensure to remove all air inside before sealing then put it in the fridge.
For long term storage, use the freezing method above to keep it fresh all year long.
Cut broccoli will remain fresh this way for up to 5 days if properly stored.
How to choose fresh broccoli
The freshness of your broccoli will affect quite a number of things from its quality in terms of flavor to its shelf life if you decide to store for future use.
You want to bring home that lively bunch of broccoli that will give you the psyche to prepare immediately since you don’t want to see it get bored and going limp.
Heres what to look out for when shopping for broccoli:
- Dark green heads with no spots.
- Firm stalks that are not woody.
- Compact florets.
- It should feel heavy for its size.
- Skip broccoli with wilted leaves.
How to know when broccoli is going bad
It’s easy to know when broccoli is going bad by using your senses. Broccoli florets are the most perishable as they start yellowing first before any other part of the vegetable. Spoiling broccoli will have the following traits:
- The florets will start yellowing. Plan to eat it as soon as possible before it is time to discard it.
- It will become limp. Limp broccoli is still safe to eat although it will not have the greatness of a fresh one.
- Dark spots will start to show up. Your broccoli is still edible depending on the size of the spots. If the spots are small just cut them off and consume the rest of the broccoli. If the spots are large then get rid of it right away.
- Molds may start to grow. This is a clear sign of rotting meaning you should get rid of it immediately.
- It will have an off smell. Discard right away
Sources and references
United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service: Freezing and Food Safety