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How to Tell if Broccoli is Bad

Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable with many different benefits, including an excellent source of fiber, folic acid, and plenty of vitamins. For these reasons, broccoli might be your choice of vegetable at the dinner table. However, if you do not store broccoli properly, or use it within the time frame of the expiration date, your broccoli will go bad. As it stands, broccoli usually goes bad pretty quickly, so this should help you to extend the life of your broccoli for as long as possible. Eating broccoli that has gone bad may result in stomach issues and could make you very ill. It is very important to make sure you are not consuming spoiled food. This guide should assist you in how to tell if broccoli is bad and how to properly store your broccoli to ensure it reaches its maximum lifespan in the refrigerator.

How to Tell if Broccoli is Bad

1. Smell the Broccoli

The smell of any given food is usually the first indicator if it is going bad. If the broccoli smells sour, it has likely gone bad. Your nose will be your most reliable and trustworthy friend whenever it comes to checking to make sure food is still edible and safe to eat. If the broccoli has not gone bad, it will smell fresh.

Most people can agree that broccoli that has not gone bad smells like your average vegetable. So just give the broccoli a quick sniff, and if it smells bad it would definitely be in your best interest to throw it away. The smell of rotten broccoli will usually intensify within a few days to the point where it will stink up your entire refrigerator, the minute you notice rotten broccoli you should throw it away. If it hasn’t gone bad then it is still safe to consume.

2. The Color of the Broccoli is Changing

Another way to tell if the broccoli in your refrigerator is going bad or has gone bad is by looking at the coloration on it. Fresh broccoli will usually be bright green and the leaves on the stem appear lively and fresh. If the leaves on the stem of your broccoli head have begun to wither, and the normally bright green coloration of the broccoli appears to be dulling in color or turning yellow it might be an indicator that your broccoli will soon spoil.

If the broccoli is in the beginning stages of losing its bright green color and withering, it will still be safe to eat for a day. However, if it has completely changed color and the leaves are completely withering away, then the broccoli has gone bad and must be thrown away in order to avoid getting sick or consuming spoiled broccoli.

3. The Texture of the Broccoli is Slimy or Mushy

Fresh broccoli that has not gone bad will be firm, and dry. If you notice your broccoli is slimy whenever you touch it, or mushy, this is a huge red flag and means your broccoli has more than likely gone bad. You should immediately throw the broccoli away if you notice it has become slimy or mushy. It will also probably have a very sour, foul odor if it has become slimy or mushy. Usually, broccoli that has become slimy or mushy has been sitting for a while and has been gradually getting worse over time. So pay very close attention to the texture of your broccoli, the texture is vital on how to tell if broccoli is bad.

4. Check the Broccoli for Any Signs of Mold

A lot of the times food that has been sitting for long periods will begin to develop mold. If your broccoli has any signs of mold you should throw the broccoli away immediately. Mold on broccoli will appear in little white, fuzzy specks. Even if you just notice one broccoli floret with mold on it, you should throw the entire bag away.

Some people choose to just get rid of the piece that contains mold, but even being around mold could contaminate the other florets. It is much safer to throw away broccoli that has any sign of molding, even if it is just a little bit. Mold can also appear to be black on your broccoli florets, just thoroughly look over them to ensure that they do not have any signs of mold. Oftentimes moldy food is accompanied by a very foul odor.

How Long Will Cooked Brocolli Keep in the Refridgerator?

If your broccoli is in its final stages and you suspect it will be bad in a day or two, you might want to cook it to extend its life. Cooked broccoli lasts in the fridge anywhere from 4-5 days. Cooked broccoli is one of a lot of people’s favorite ways to eat this fiber, nutrient-rich green vegetable, so the kids and your family will appreciate cooked broccoli as a side dish to the main meal. Cooked broccoli is also likely to be consumed quickly and you won’t have to worry about it going bad as quickly as you would fresh broccoli that hasn’t been cooked. If you are unable to eat your cooked broccoli however before it goes bad, you can also freeze it for up to 6 months.

Storing Broccoli to Ensure Freshness

It is very important to properly store your broccoli to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible, there are several ways to store broccoli to ensure maximum freshness, some ways you can store your broccoli include:

  • Wrap the broccoli in a damp paper towel and leave it in the refrigerator in an unopened plastic bag. Broccoli is one of the very few vegetables that can benefit from being in a slightly damp environment, it prevents the broccoli from becoming too dry and ensures that it stays fresh for a bit longer, you can usually store broccoli this way for up to 4 or 5 days but you should check to make sure it hasn’t gone bad before using it if it has been 5 days or more.
  • Pre-Cut Broccoli Usually lasts longer. If you have bought your broccoli at the store prepackaged and pre-cut it will be safe to leave it in the bag as it came in. When you have opened the bag and used some of the broccoli make sure to properly close it again before putting it back in the refrigerator. Pre-cut broccoli usually lasts anywhere from 4-6 days in the refrigerator. Pre-cut broccoli also usually comes in a ventilated bag, broccoli needs to breathe in order to remain fresh for as long as possible.
  • Freeze broccoli if you will not be able to consume it before it goes bad. Freezing vegetables whenever you can’t eat them quick enough is a great way to avoid food waste and throwing food out. Broccoli can be frozen for about 6 months and is a good choice if you can’t get through it quick enough.

Can I Keep Broccoli on the Counter if it is Wrapped?

Yes, you can keep your broccoli on the counter if it is wrapped, however, this cuts its life in half. Broccoli left on the counter is usually only good for 2 or 3 days, the chillness of the refrigerator helps to ensure that the broccoli maintains its freshness. If you do not have a refrigerator and wanted to get broccoli for a dish you planned on preparing within the next 2 or so days, then this would be the ideal vegetable to get if you don’t have a refrigerator, but also be prepared for the vegetables left out to go bad much quicker then if they are stored in a refrigerator. Broccoli left on the counter will likely start to turn yellow on the second day, and by the end of the 3rd day will be completely yellow and the leaves completely wilted. If you don’t have a refrigerator, you might want to invest in a small cooler to help maintain the freshness of various perishable groceries, broccoli included.

Is Broccoli That Has Started to Turn Yellow Bad to Eat?

Broccoli that has started to turn yellow is not necessarily rotten yet, but it is well on its way to being spoiled. You can still eat broccoli that has started to turn yellow if it is not accompanied by a sour smell, mold, or any other signs of food spoilage. However, when consuming broccoli that has begun to turn yellow you should be aware that this means it is slowly but surely losing its nutritional value. Broccoli that has turned yellow also will likely taste a bit bitter, so most people prefer to toss it whenever it begins to lose its color. However, broccoli that has begun to turn yellow could be good to cook in soups or other cooked broccoli dishes.

Ultimately it is up to you whether or not you trust the broccoli but these tips should make telling if your broccoli has gone bad much easier and it should also make storing broccoli easier to ensure maximum freshness for as long as possible. If you suspect you have eaten rotten broccoli without realizing it and are experiencing symptoms of a food-related illness make sure to contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

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