How Long Does Broccoli Last?

How Long Does Broccoli Last?

Broccoli, often known as the “tree of doom” among children, doesn’t come with a specific shelf life written over it. Much like every other vegetable in the market, even this one doesn’t come with a particular date that you have to use it before.

But, it does go rotten and spoil, specially when stored outside the refrigerator. It definitely won’t stay bright green forever. Understanding how long does broccoli last in the fridge or otherwise is worthwhile figuring out. Broccoli is quite similar to the taste of cauliflower but less mild.

With the enriching vitamins, minerals, and nutrients broccoli is composed of, it is one of the healthiest veggies out there. Not only is it known for being incredibly healthy, but for its amazing anti-cancer properties as well.

How Long does the Broccoli Last?

Exactly how long does broccoli last in or outside the refrigerator?

Before we go into a discussion about how long does broccoli last, it is important to break it down into different sections.

Broccoli goes off much faster if it is cooked. The colder the refrigerator, the longer the broccoli will last but let’s get more specific. 

Shelf Life at Room Temperature

Really fresh broccoli is bright green and the tiny little flowers on top are tightly closed. Very fresh broccoli is also firm to the touch and none of the “branches” are drying up and becoming floppy.

The longer broccoli is left out, the more yellow it gets. Plus the little flowers start to open up. It is still OK to eat at that stage, but not as tasty.

Really fresh broccoli will keep outside the fridge in 3-5 days.

Much of the broccoli that was bought from a supermarket, is already getting tired and can go yellow and lose its firmness at room temperature.

If you are keeping fresh broccoli out at room temperature, make sure you always dry it out completely. Any water traces can further help spoil the broccoli faster.

But, even though fresh broccoli should stay good for 3-5 days at room temperature, definitely try to cook and eat it as quickly as possible, which is when it will be at its peak.

Shelf Life in the Refrigerator

The very best way to store broccoli to have it last longer is inside a nice cool refrigerator. Any freshly picked broccoli from the market or your garden will last that way for about 7-12 days.

The very best way to ensure that your broccoli lasts longer is to make sure it neither dries out nor gets too damp. This is achieved by storing your vegetable in a brown paper bag or wrapping it with paper towels and then putting that into a plastic bag.

How Long Does Broccoli Last in the Freezer?

If you have extra broccoli, you can freeze it quite easily.

Broccoli inside a freezer should last around 3-8 months. But, there are some essential tips to keep in mind when freezing vegetables.

First, you need to blanch it (let it cook in boiling water for about 3 minutes) dry it, and then store it in the freezer. 

Just make sure that there are no spoiled bits before you start this process. There is no point in freezing anything but really fresh broccoli.

How Long Does Broccoli Last After it Has Been Cooked?

Cooked broccoli has a shorter shelf life than raw broccoli. About 3-5 days but if you are very careful about refrigerating your vegetables as soon as they are cooked and cooled down a bit, you can get another couple of days’s worth of storage out of them. Cooked vegetables do spoil faster so be prepared to eat it quickly and don’t allow it to sit around at room temperature for long.

Always use an airtight container to store your broccoli in the fridge.

How Do You Know If Your Broccoli Went Bad?

If it wasn’t cooked, you can see that it has gone too yellow and there might even be rotten spots that are either black, brown or soggy. This is pretty obvious.

If your broccoli is already cooked, you will be able to smell it when it goes bad.  Be alert for a rotten smell and if in doubt, throw away your broccoli.

Is it Bad to Eat Old Broccoli?

Yes. It can give you food poisoning (but it isn’t as bad for you as eating raw meat). Yellow broccoli with open florets will just not taste that great but it won’t hurt you.

Be safe and eat any cooked broccoli within 3-5 days of cooking it and freeze anything you don’t think you will be able to eat before it goes off. Also, if you are going to freeze your broccoli, do so right after it is cooked to stop it from going bad.

Symptoms of eating bad food can include stomach ache, diarrhea, and even food poisoning but it is quite rare as the food will smell and taste bad and put you off eating it.

How Do I Keep Broccoli Fresh in the refrigerator?

  • Start by boiling some salty water in a deep pot.
  • Cut the broccoli florets and stems into smaller pieces and blanch (boil) it in the boiling water for 3 minutes.
  • Once done, take out the florets and stems and dunk them into cold water.
  • Drain all the excess liquid once everything has cooled down.
  • Lay out the broccoli on the counter (or better, on a large baking sheet) and pat dry with a dry kitchen towel.
  • Evenly spread out the broccoli on the baking sheet.
  • Place this inside the freezer for 45 minutes, so they are almost frozen and don’t clump together.
  • Once frozen, take them out of the freezer and put them inside an airtight container.
  • In case you don’t have a box, place them inside a vacuum-sealed pack and store them inside the freezer for the coming months. You can use a zip-lock bag if you squeeze the air out of it first.

How Can You Pickle Broccoli to Enhance its Shelf Life?

Apart from freezing, another way to preserve your broccoli is by pickling it, if you like the taste of vinegar.

Pickled broccoli has a shelf life of 4-6 months, which is pretty amazing. Make sure that you store it in the fridge to ensure that bacteria don’t grow on your broccoli.

For the pickling liquid, it is best to use a mixture of vinegar and water and add the spices and flavorings you like.

Place the broccoli florets and stems inside the pickling liquid and then let it stay inside the fridge for the next 4-6 months.

Is it Possible to Can Broccoli?

Canned broccoli is a bit of a hit-or-miss thing among people. While some people like it, some don’t. Here are two simpler types of canning methods – water bath canning and pressure cooker canning.

If you want to enhance the shelf life of your broccoli, it is suggested that you use the pressure cooker canning method. This helps keep the temperature optimal and ensures you kill any harmful bacteria, especially with the risks of botulism. The temperature used in this process is around 250°F or more.

This is best, to preserve your broccoli and enhance shelf life, so you can enjoy it for longer.

Can You Dehydrate Broccoli for Improved Shelf Life?

Yes, dehydrating your broccoli is another way to store it for more extended periods.

You can either lay it out under the direct sun or use a dehydrator to draw out over 90% of the vegetables’ liquid. This slows down the process of rotting and helps your broccoli to last longer.

But, even when you dehydrate the broccoli, you still need to store it inside the fridge in an airtight container.


If you have been wondering how long does broccoli last, we hope this article gives you some concrete answers to that question. Always try and get the freshest broccoli possible. This not only has more nutrition but will last you longer.

Ensuring your broccoli stays fresh for you is not only more economical for you but it is better for the environment as there would be little to no wastage.

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