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

Fresh broccoli last 4-7 days in the refrigerator leaving it unwashed until ready to use. Cooked broccoli will last 3-5 days after being stored in an air-tight container. While frozen broccoli will last up to 3 months in the freezer. It's always best to wash raw broccoli when you are ready to use it and certain storing methods can leave your broccoli lasting longer.

Can Your Broccoli Last for 2 Weeks?

In most cases, fresh raw broccoli will last up to 7 days in the fridge. Some fresh vegetables like broccoli do not have an expiration date, shelf-life, or use-by-date. So it's best to go with the purchase date when planning out how soon you need to use your broccoli.

broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges on a wood cutting board

However, certain storage methods can expand the shelf life of your broccoli. If you cannot cook eat it before it goes bad, you can put it in the freezer and it will last up to three months.

How Do You Keep Broccoli Fresh In the Refrigerator?

Broccoli is a healthy veggie that adds nutrition and many health benefits 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 has spoiled or not. Here is what to look out for.

Tips for expanding your broccoli to make it last longer and for the best quality:

  • Make a broccoli bouquet: cut 1/4 off the stem. Place your bunch of broccoli in a mason jar filled halfway with water. Broccoli needs to be cold because it's a cold-weather vegetable, so place your bouquet in the fridge.
  • Store in a loosely unsealed bag: Keeping your broccoli in an airtight bag will trap the ethylene (what broccoli creates to ripen) to cause it to break down faster. Leaving it unbagged causes it to dry out. So allow it to "breathe" to help it keep longer.
  • Store your broccoli with wet paper towels: It's important not to rinse broccoli until your ready to use, as extra moisture will promote bacteria and mold growth. But placing broccoli wrapped in wet paper towels will prevent it from drying out and allow it to breathe. This green vegetable keeps best when it can breathe, not in an airtight container.
  • Avoid placing broccoli with other fruits and vegetables that release ethylene gas like apples, bananas, and avocados.
  • Store in the vegetable crisper with high humidity with the drawer being 2/3 the way full. Crispers work best when they are 2/3 way full with heavier things on the bottom and lighter vegetables on top. A high-humidity crisper will prevent vegetables sensitive to ethylene gas to be exposed to more ethylene that causes them to go bad faster.
  • Never store broccoli at room temperature.

How Do You Know When Broccoli Is Bad?

yellow and discolored broccoli on white cutting board
  1. Broccoli florets normally have a green color, if you notice a yellowish color 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 color.
  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 spoiled. 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 quite overpowering rotting odor.
  6. When it goes bad will have slippery spots on the buds. It will start to wilt and form holes on the florets of the broccoli.

When Should You Throw Out Broccoli?

So how long does broccoli last? For raw broccoli, it's best to throw broccoli out when the florets and stem become limp. The broccoli florets should be green and firm. If your broccoli starts to make a color change to turn yellow or brown it's still okay to eat, you can cut off the discolored portion and eat what's remaining. For the best quality, raw broccoli last up to 7 days in the fridge.

Cooked broccoli lasts 3-5 days. If you decided you cannot eat it within that time, you can freeze it.

Do Vegetable Storage Containers Really Work to Keep Your Vegetables Fresh Longer?

Vegetable storage containers are a great option if you do not have a fridge with a crisper in it or if you run out of room in your crisper often. Your broccoli head will need to breathe while being stored, an air-tight container is not a good option for storing broccoli. Here is an example of a storage container on Amazon that has air-flow:

Buy on Amazon 

But according to this research broccoli lasts only a little bit longer in a vegetable storage container, and your fridge crisper works well on keeping your food fresh. So I don't know about you I would like to see if they are worth the money myself. As our grocery store trips can be expensive and we like saving every penny we can.

How To Store Broccoli

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

broccoli, cauliflower, onions on a black background

Storing Broccoli For the Short Term

  1. An unconventional but very effective way of keeping your green vegetable 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 it 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 it 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 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

person cutting off broccoli florets from head of broccoli on green cutting board
  • 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 sides 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.

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.

FAQ

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 them with paper towels and refrigerate them.

Can you eat discolored 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 it's cooked 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 color. The broccoli may have a yellowish or brownish color.