We all want to eat our veggies and fruits fresh, isn’t it? But there are times when we stock up our fridge with hearty vegetables and healthy fruits only to see them decompose or grow moldy after a few days. Apart from the fact that it is contributing to the food waste problem, it is also a major waste of money. So, how do you put this in check and also keep your veggies fresh?

It is by knowing how to store them, where to store them, and how long they can last. If you wish to grow broccoli in your herb garden and also add the edible green plant to your daily meal, it is important you know how long the veggie can last in storage and still maintain their color, taste, and aroma. Read on as I show you how long broccoli can last, where they can be stored, and some other useful information that can contribute to healthy consumption.

Do you know we have different broccoli varieties? Even though they all have almost the same nutrient, each of the variety of broccoli can be different in color, shape, size, time of germination, time of maturity, and also the time of harvest. This means there is no specific period that tells how long broccoli takes to germinate and mature; there can only be a range of time. Generally, you can expect the germination of broccoli between 10 to 20 days.  Let’s take a look at the common broccoli varieties that you can grow in your herb garden and their maturity period or when they will come to harvest.

  • De Cicco varieties and Citation varieties – will come to harvest in less than 50 days
  • Packman, Love Me Tender, Minaret, Marathon, Italian Sprouting, Emperor, Land Mark, Early Dividend, Eureka, and Legend varieties – will come to harvest between 80 days and 87 days.
  • Rapine, Raab Spring, Green Goliath, Green Comet, Romanesco, Paragon, Violet Queen, Thompson, Super Dome, Fiesta, Green Jewel, Super Blend, Sprinter, Green Valiant, and Small Miracle – will come to harvest between 70 days and 79 days.
  • Saga, Pinnacle Premium Crop, Happy Rich, Gypsy, and Bonanza – will come to harvest between 53 days and 60 days
  • Waltham, ShoGun, and Salad – will come to harvest between 90 days and 95 days
  • Calabrese, Belstar, Arcadia, Munchkin, and Amadeus – will come to harvest between 60 days to 67 days
  • Late Purple Sprouting – will come to harvest between 220 days to 225 days.

It is advisable to grow broccoli in late winter or early spring so that it can mature or come to harvest when the average temperature is not more than 23 degrees Celsius. In other words, know the maturity period of the broccoli variety you want to grow and time it’s planting so that the harvest time falls to a cool time of the year. Does this make sense?

Where Can You Store Broccoli?

Storing the varieties of broccoli the right way can help keep them safe and fresh to eat. The mode of storage varies with vegetables. There are some that are best stored in a cool, dry place, room temperature, and also in the refrigerator. But where is the best place to store broccoli and how? Broccoli varieties should be stored in a moist and cold place with the temperature between zero degree Celsius and four degree Celsius. The place should also have a relative humidity of about 95 percent. What is the best place? Of course, it is your refrigerator. Take note that achieving cold and moist storage that works for the varieties of broccoli harvested from your herb garden can be a challenge.

Even though the refrigerator offers the cold needed to store your edible plant, they also make the air dry, and this can be a challenge to storing broccoli. So how do you overcome this challenge? The best way to achieve a perfect relative humidity, temperature, and moist when using the refrigerator to store the vegetable is by putting your broccoli in a plastic bag that is perforated and dry. Then place it in the crisp section of the refrigerator. Ensure you put the broccoli in separate bags and make sure you don’t jam-pack them in a bag.

Additionally, it is advisable that you don’t wash your broccoli before storing them because washing the edible green plant can encourage head rot.

How Long Does Broccoli Last In the Fridge?

No matter the variety of broccoli your purchase or grow and harvest from your herb garden, your broccoli can last between 5 days to 12 months or even longer when stored fridge. However, it is good to know that there can sometimes be an exception. How long a freshly harvested stored broccoli will last in the refrigerator and freezer is different from how long cooked broccoli will last in the freezer or refrigerator.

  • If you store your fresh broccoli properly, it can last up to 7 days to 14 days in the refrigerator
  • If you have chopped or sliced your raw broccoli, it can last for about one day to two days in the refrigerator and still keep well
  • If broccoli has been cooked, it can keep well in the refrigerator for about three days to five days. However, if you put it inside the freezer and you allow it to freeze, cooked broccoli varieties can last for about 10 months to 12 months. In fact, if you store them properly in the freezer, they will last for up to 12 months to 18 months or even longer while still maintaining their quality.
  • Interestingly, if you can store the edible green plant in the freezer and maintain a constant zero degree Celsius, you will be able to keep your broccoli safe indefinitely.

Also, if you are wondering if uncooked or raw broccoli can also be freeze, yes you can freeze them. But you have to know the perfect way to go about it. You can’t just throw them inside the freezer and freeze them. So how do you freeze your freshly harvested broccoli?

  • After harvesting them from your herb garden or buying them from the farmer’s garden, cut the leaves of the broccoli, and the woody stems off.
  • Separate the stalks and flowerets into one to 1.5-inches pieces
  • Plunge the broccoli into boiling water and ice-cold water to chill them immediately and quickly
  • Drain off the excess moist on the broccoli and trapped within the leaves, stalks, and flowerets
  • Get freezer bags or containers that are airtight and package the drained broccoli in them
  • Once the previous step is done, put the containers or freezer bag in the freezer to freeze immediately.

Freezing broccoli by following the steps discussed above can make the biennial green vegetable last for months as I have mentioned before. Interestingly, as long as you store broccoli properly and it doesn’t go bad, it would maintain its nutrient component.   

How to Tell If Broccoli Is Bad

Even though it is important to be informed about how long broccoli will last when you store them in the fridge, it is also important to know and tell when they are going bad or gone bad. You can know this through their smell, appearance, and sometimes shape.

1. Smell

The smell of broccoli is the most basic and easiest way to tell if broccoli has gone bad or it is still good. The first thing you will notice when broccoli is going bad is that the smell will intensify. Even though broccoli generally doesn’t have any scent when they are fresh except in some varieties that stand out, there is a high chance that your edible green plant will start to produce a very strong moldy smell when going bad. To tell if broccoli is bad, you can place them near your nose as you will notice the more severe smell that way. Also, you might be able to perceive the bad odor in the whole fridge. You might also notice a rotting odor overpowering the moldy smell.

2. Feel And Texture

How does your broccoli feel when you grow them in your herb garden or buy them from the farmer’s market? Of course, the feel will be very firm with the stalk extremely crisp and firm. But when the broccoli vegetable is bad or going bad, it will go soggy and cause the edible plant to lose their firm feel. Additionally, you will notice the crisp texture of the broccoli herb becoming limp.

3. Appearance

What is the color of broccoli when you grow them or buy them? Isn’t it dark green or bright green? Of course, it is! When you notice a color deviation from the natural color, then the broccoli is either going bad or has already gone bad. You can tell that the broccoli is bad when the stalk of the broccoli and the overall vegetable begin to change to yellow. You can also check the condition of the edible veggie by paying attention to the buds of the veggie. If they have spots that are slippery, then they have probably gone bad. Also, you might see holes appearing on the broccoli florets and also notice that it has started to wilt.

Using the criteria mentioned above, the quick tips that help determine or tell if broccoli is bad are:

  • Check the color as any deviation from green or its natural color means it’s going bad
  • Look for the presence of mold. If you see any mold on any part of the broccoli’s body, it means it’s going bad
  • Check the texture, and it feels soft and slimy, it means the broccoli is going bad
  • If the broccoli does not smell fresh, but instead, it smells bitter and harder than normal, it means the edible green plant is going bad.

Why Does Broccoli Smell?

Naturally, when you buy or grow broccoli, the odor is always fresh, but when it starts going bad, it gives some irritating smell. When it is going bad, you will notice a rotting smell and moldy odor. From research and review of different users of broccoli, it has been noticed that the edible green plant produces a sulfuric odor when cooking them. But it has been noticed that the sulfur-like smell increases the more you cook. What do you think causes this?

According to research, broccoli features compounds known as glucosinolates. The edible green plant contains high levels of a glucosinolate that is known as glucoraphanin. When you cut broccoli an enzyme known as myrosinase is released from the plant cells. The Glucosinolates in broccoli reacts with this enzyme and produces a lot of products, including a compound known as sulforaphane. Even though this compound is found to be beneficial medically, its amount in broccoli is determined by how you cook the green biennial veggie. When cooking broccoli, the enzyme breaks down because it is sensitive to heat. As soon as the break down occurs, the process produces compounds that contain sulfur such as dimethyl sulfide and hydrogen sulfide. These sulfur-containing compounds are what cause the unattractive smell or odor of broccoli.                  

This means if you want the broccoli to smell less when cooking the vegetable you, you have to cook it less. In fact, some users suggest that you should steam it instead of boiling it. Additionally, below are the steps you can take to stop broccoli from smelling when cooking it.

  • Place a steamer basket into a cooking pot and add water until it reaches the bottom edge of the steamer basket. Ensure the water does not exceed between one and two inches as that is the proper amount needed to steam veggies.
  • Bring the water to boiling point by turning the burner of the stove to high heat. While this is getting done, pour white vinegar that is undiluted into a small bowl
  • Cut the edible green plant into small pieces and ensure you separate the large bunches of florets
  • Pour the broccoli you have cut into the steamer basket inside the pot with boiled water
  • Remember, overcooking broccoli can cause unpleasant smells. So it is advisable that you cover the pot and steam the broccoli for about 3-4 minutes. Steaming time should not exceed the specified period.
  • If the broccoli starts to smell, place the bowl containing undiluted white vinegar near the pot as you cook. It will help you deodorize the smell of the broccoli.
  • Ones the broccoli is done, and you have served them, ensure you immediately refrigerate the leftovers to prevent the smell of broccoli from permeating your home.

How to Keep Broccoli Green

Have you ever noticed your harvested or purchased broccoli turning yellow before cooking them or while storing them in the refrigerator? The vegetable is known to feature green so why the yellowish color? I will like to call your attention to something, so you don’t mistake yellowish color for bad broccoli. Food experts found that broccoli head, stalk, or leaves turning to yellow does not usually mean that it is rotting. Most times it can simply result from deterioration and wilting that the broccoli is undergoing. Every herb grower will not want their broccoli to deteriorate and change color. So how can you keep broccoli green whether cooked or uncooked?

There are different ways you can store broccoli and keep them green. If you want to maintain the green color of broccoli you can:

• Make Broccoli Bouquets

This might surprise you, but it is no doubt one of the effective ways of maintaining the greenish color of your broccoli. Get a bowl or container and fill it with little water. Then put the broccoli inside the container with the head pointing up and the stem inside the water. Ensure the bushy part of the edible green plant point up without touching the water and then refrigerate it. This should help keep your broccoli green for up to five days or one week.

• Wrap the vegetable in damp paper towels or keep in ventilated bags

Get a clean and chemical-free spray bottle and fill it with cold water. Then sprinkle the heads of your broccoli gently and wrap them with a paper towel loosely to absorb some of the moisture. After that, put the fridge. You should be able to keep then fresh and green for up to three days. Ensure you don’t put the wrapped broccoli in a sealed container. Alternatively, you can put your broccoli in a plastic bag that is ventilated. But if the bag is not ventilated poke many holes near the head of the veggie to ensure the flow of good air and then refrigerate them. This should maintain its freshness and greenish color for a few days; probably four days.           

Additionally, you can keep the green of the broccoli you grow and harvest from your herb garden by washing them and drying the broccoli thoroughly before refrigerating them. Also, quick storage is another trick that works. Put your broccoli in the fridge almost immediately after purchase or harvest. If you can get the edible green veggie into the refrigerator in less than 30 minutes, you will be able to maintain its firmness, green color, and crisp texture for a longer time. These steps can work for short term storage. But if you are looking for long term storage that will keep the broccoli green check the quick tips below.

  • Prepare a large bowl or pot of ice-cold and boiling water each
  • Use a pair of kitchen shears or knife to cut the heads of your broccoli into small pieces. Ensure the stems and head pieces are not more than one inch. It is also important to divide the heads of the edible plant so that the boiling water can blanch the broccoli evenly.
  • Boil the pieces of broccoli for three minutes and also chill it for another three minutes
  • After that allow it to briefly rest in a strainer or colander and also toss the broccoli intermittently to ensure that it drains well.
  • Then to get rid of the excessive moisture pat the broccoli with a paper towel or clean rag
  • Once you are able to remove the excess moisture get a plastic bag that is airtight-sealed and put the broccoli inside it. Then put the bag inside the freezer. The broccoli can maintain its green for up to a year once it freezes.

Other tips that can help keep broccoli green for a long time is the broccoli you choose or how you harvest the one you grow in your herb garden. The tips you can follow are:

  • Select the best broccoli when buying from the market. This is probably ones with deep green florets. Don’t purchase anyone with patches of yellow or any deviation from the natural color
  • Go for broccoli that is mature and not over-ripe. How do you know this? Look for broccoli that has florets which size is less than the match head
  • Twist or squeeze the heads gently to make sure you are picking the ones with the firm, hard, and not unyielding heads.
  • The case is different if you are growing the broccoli in an herb garden in your home. If you want to maintain the green color and keep the perfect taste of broccoli you should try to pick them during the coolest time of the day. Harvest the veggie in the morning by cutting the entire heads of the broccoli and transfer them into the freezer or refrigerator immediately to keep its greenish color and freshness for a longer time or shorter time.

How to Cook Broccoli and Keep Its Greenish Color

Do you know you can also keep the cooked broccoli green? How can you do that?

  • Steam the veggie in a large amount of water with salt if you don’t want the broccoli to smell less or boil if you don’t really care about the odor. Ensure you allow the water to reach its boiling point before adding the broccoli.
  • Cook the vegetable until you get a tender feel. This can take between five to seven minutes. Ensure you don’t overcook or undercook
  • Stop the cooking once the broccoli is done and use ice-cold water to prevent overcooking
  • Then you can prepare the broccoli the way you want them in your meal.

Can You Eat Broccoli When It Is Changes Color?

Many of the vegetables available tend to age quickly after harvesting them and broccoli is not left out. This means you might notice discoloration of your broccoli after a few days of harvest and storage. So you don’t need to be surprised if you notice a change in broccoli color. But does this mean you can eat the broccoli when it changes color? Well, this depends on why it has turned to yellow. Has it gone bad or is it just deteriorating or wilting?  If the broccoli has gone bad, it is advisable not to eat them because it might affect your health negatively. But on the other hand, if the yellowish color is as a result of aging or maturity, they are not poisonous and are safe to eat.

However, you should know that when broccoli starts to change color, they might not be as nutritious as the natural green ones or the broccoli that are still maintaining their natural color. Some of the nutritional values that may be lost include the broccoli protein and some vitamins. Even though the veggie might be edible when turning yellow, the taste might no more be palatable. This is left to you if you still wish to eat it or not.

Final Thoughts

With the information about broccoli provided above, it is obvious that the edible green vegetable can last for more than a year. But this depends on how you store them. If you can store broccoli properly, you will be able to keep its freshness, color, and taste for a longer time. When storing broccoli, make use of a bag or container that is perforated for short time storage and airtight sealed for long time storage.

Also, whether cooked or uncooked broccoli you can maintain their greenish color and store them for a longer time if you follow the steps provided above. Finally, ensure you try everything possible to keep your broccoli green so as not to risk losing broccoli protein, vitamins and some other important nutrients that make the biennial plant highly beneficial to people’s health.