How Long Does Broccoli Last? Can it Go Bad? Answered (2023)

Broccoli is a nationwide favorite, and for a good reason too. It is versatile, flavorful, and most of all, healthy. What else do you need from a veggie right?

But the tricky part is understanding How long does broccoli last in the fridge or the counter?

Fresh broccoli at room temperature can only last 24 hours, while refrigerating it will give you 3 to 5 days. If it is raw and chopped, 2 days is the most you can expect. But freezing it will extend its shelf life to a whopping 12 months!

Can Broccoli Go Bad? 

Yes, it can and does certainly go bad- any veggies do, for that matter. But when it is a delicious veggie like this one, it can be an unwanted experience to throw it out. The good news is that you can make it last longer by following proper storage methods. 

If you choose to leave broccoli on the counter (it’s better not to), the shelf life is the least. You are roughly looking at 24 hours at best. Remember to wash it only before using it. Leave it in the package it came in, but loosen up the wrap to let it breathe. If you got it in a bag, poke some holes into it.

3 to 5 days is your best bet if you choose to refrigerate raw ones. With raw, chopped ones, though, 2 days is the most you can enjoy it for. But if you freeze it, you can get a whole year’s shelf life. Long story short, take the cue and freeze it unless you need it soon.

How to Store Broccoli?

How you should store broccoli depends on how soon you plan to whip a dish out of it. If you have extremely short-term plans, leave them out on the counter.

Want to make it in a day or two? Refrigerate it.

Storing it in your secret bunker for months? Two words: freeze it.

broccoli on table

1. Storing Broccoli on the Counter

While storing it on the shelf, it is best not to expose it to moisture. Moisture spoils the veggie much sooner. This is why I recommend you defer washing it till you plan to use it. A simple rinse under a cold stream of water before cooking is the best way out. 

Remember, after a day or two, the veggie will go limp. You can shorten the stalk, keep it in a container with water, and rehydrate it for another day. After that, it is best thrown out.

Keep it away from fruits to avoid ethylene from seeping in. If you notice the floret tips becoming yellow, chop off those parts and use the rest. If the whole thing changes color, it is time to toss it into the bin.

2. Refrigerating Raw Broccoli

For short-term use, refrigeration is the best way to go for raw broccoli. Throw it into the fridge once you are back from the grocery store. Do not wash it before storing it since the moisture can cause mold growth. 

If you have chopped them, transfer them into an airtight container or a freezer bag. Cut ones age much faster, so do not defer cooking past one day after storing them.

3. Refrigerating Cooked Broccoli

If your broccoli is cooked, refrigerate it. Once cooked, let it cool down for 15 to 20 minutes. It should not be hot when you toss it into the refrigerator. Once it is at room temperature- nice and cold- transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge.

4. Freezing Raw Broccoli

If you want to freeze it, start by washing its head and chopping it into florets. Freezing the stalks? Chop them into tiny pieces as well. The next step is blanching the veggies. Boil a pot of water, toss the chopped ones in, and leave it for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Drain the water, and put the veggies into an ice bath for about 5 minutes. This stops the cooking process. Remove the vegetable from the ice bath, use paper towels to dry it, and let it stay out till dry. Grab a cookie sheet, and lay out the pieces away from each other. Freeze the veggies, and transfer the frozen pieces into a freezer bag. Label the bag and toss it into the freezer.

I know it sounds like a hassle, but this way, you get to store it for months. I would say that’s a win!

5. Freezing Cooked Broccoli

If you are freezing cooked broccoli, the steps are simpler and shorter. Divide the cooked veggies into meal-sized portions. Let it cool down to room temperature. This should take 30 to 40 minutes. Once cool, transfer them into meal-prep containers or freezer bags. Add labels and toss them into the freezer.

Also Read: How Long Does Cream Cheese Last in the fridge?

How Long Does Broccoli Last before it goes bad?

Having a hard time figuring out if your broccoli has gone bad? There are a few tell-tale signs to look for. Check for the signs below to tell which one is fit for consumption and which is better tossed out.

broccoli dish

1. Color

Checking the color of the florets should be the first cue. Ideally, the florets should be bright and uniform green. If you notice yellow or brown spots, know it is just about starting to spoil. See some fuzzy black or white patches? It is a sign of mold growth and is best thrown out.

2. Smell

It is starting to rot if you notice your broccoli emitting an unpleasant odor. Ideally, whole crowns smell slightly vegetal and fresh. When cut into florets, they release sulforaphane which can emit an odor. If the smell is mild, your veggie is okay. If there is a strong, pungent smell, your veggie is past its peak.

3. Texture

The texture is crucial to this veggie. Ideally, the stem ought to be firm. The stalk should look fresh and not dried out or cracked. A soft stem or dry stalks are signs of spoilage. As long as a small portion has dried out or gone limp, you can chop them off and use the rest. But if the whole vegetable has lost moisture, it’s best thrown out.

Why Should You Avoid Rotten Broccoli?

You should avoid rotten broccoli because, well… it is rotten. Nothing rotten ever does us any good. It can either end in disastrous food poisoning or a mild stomach upset, but either way, nothing good. The same holds for broccoli. 

In certain cases, moldy broccoli has led to nausea, shortness of breath, diarrhea, or fever. If any of these happen to you, get medical care immediately. Or better, try avoiding rotten broccoli, to begin with.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can broccoli last 2 weeks?

Ans. Broccoli can only last 2 weeks if frozen. I am talking about both cooked and raw frozen ones. But if it is out on the counter for 2 weeks, the appearance alone will tell you everything. Toss it out immediately. If you refrigerate it. 3 to 5 days is the most you can expect out of it. So, when the plan is to consume it after 2 weeks, I recommend freezing it.

Q2. How can you tell if broccoli is going bad?

Ans. There are tell-tale signs to know if your broccoli is going bad. Look for a pungent smell emitting from it. Often moldy patches of black or white grow on the vegetable. This is your cue to toss it out right away. 

The texture will also give it away. It should not be limp in its structure. If you notice the whole vegetable change color into yellow and the stems drying out, know it is of no use. All the moisture has left, and there is no joy in consuming it anymore.

Q3. How do you keep broccoli fresh for 2 weeks?

Ans. If you want to keep your broccoli fresh for 2 weeks, the trick is just to freeze it. Whether cooked or raw, you can toss it into the freezer and forget about it for 2 weeks. But if left on the counter, you should not consume it after a day. As with refrigeration, 3 to 5 days is the most you can enjoy it for.

Q4. How do you keep broccoli fresh longer?

Ans. Freezing is the only way to keep it fresh for months. You can expect to enjoy it for up to a year when frozen. But if you want to cook it in a few days, refrigerating it is just as good. You get 3 to 5 days before it starts wilting. Leaving it out on the counter should not be an option unless you want to cook it the next day.

Q5. How long can broccoli survive in a fridge?

Ans. Broccoli can survive a good 3 to 5 days in the fridge when whole and fresh. If you buy an aged one, the shelf life will dwindle accordingly. Also, if your veggies are cooked, 2 days is the most you should refrigerate. 

The Bottom Line

Broccoli is nutritious, tasty, and versatile and adds color to any recipe. No wonder we always err towards picking one up from the grocery store every time we visit. But remember, following the best storage practices is the only way to make a good meal out of it.

You do not want to leave it on the counter for days. Neither do you want to refrigerate it for weeks. The freezer is the way to go if you have long-term plans. Be a little attentive to it, and you will reap the benefits of your effort.

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Archana Bisht

Archana Bisht

A foodie with a flair for talking non-stop. You can find me hogging down food or browsing Pinterest for more recipes in my free time. My favorite cuisine is Italian. That being said, I am an excellent pasta cook and love experimenting with ingredients. You can also find me petting strays and feeding them every chance I get