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How To Tell If Broccoli Is Bad 4 Foolproof Way

Quick Answer: What Are The Best Ways To Tell If Broccoli Is Bad?

If you’re unsure whether or not your broccoli has gone bad, there are 4 foolproof ways to determine this. The top 4 indicators include texture, smell, color and whether or not your broccoli has mold on it. Texture relates to a soft trunk, dryness and wilted florets. In terms of smell, a bad or bitter odor will also indicate your broccoli is spoiled. In addition, if your broccoli has yellow or brown spots on it, you’ll definitely want to throw it away. Finally, if you see any signs of fuzzy, white spots on the florets or black areas on the trunk, your broccoli has developed mold on it and you should not consume it. how to tell if broccoli is bad

Getting enough greens into your day is imperative to a healthy lifestyle, but if you open the fridge and those greens are giving off funky vibes, we’d definitely be reconsidering eating them. 

Broccoli is one of those veggies that can easily go past its prime without you even noticing. When broccoli is good, it’s fresh, vibrant and crisp.

In this state, broccoli is extremely healthy and full of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium. 

However, when broccoli goes bad, all of these health benefits disappear and you are left with nothing but spoiled food. 

Although there are obvious signs of spoilage, when broccoli initially goes bad it might be difficult to identify whether or not it has actually expired. 

In today’s fast-paced society, life is too busy to have to worry about possibly eating rotten food (not to mention the ailments you may contract post-eating).

which is exactly why we are here to share with you 4 foolproof ways of being able to recognize spoiled broccoli. 

If your broccoli passes any of the following texture, smell, color or mold tests, it has likely gone bad and we would highly recommend not consuming it. 

Read below for the details!

how to tell if broccoli is bad

How To Tell If Your Broccoli Is Bad: Texture 

When determining whether or not your broccoli is bad, a great indicator is the texture.

Different parts of the broccoli will show different signs of spoilage, so it’s important to examine the entire bunch. 

Indicator  Description 
Florets
  • When florets are healthy, their texture will be very crisp. This, however, changes as the florets start to go bad.
  • As the broccoli begins to spoil, the florets will lose their crispness and become soft. When they are significantly past their prime, the florets will even start to wilt.
  • Once this happens, it’s very important that you throw your broccoli away.
Stems/trunk 
  • When broccoli goes bad, a similar process will occur to the stems and trunk.
  •  In their prime, the stems and trunk will be strong and firm.
  •  When they begin to spoil, several things occur.
  •  First, the stems and trunk will become limp and soft.
  •  Then, they will begin to shrivel and wrinkle. This is a result of the change in moisture level. The more dry the stems are, the more cracked and distorted they will look in appearance.
  •  If you see any of these signs on your broccoli, immediately toss it. 

RELATED: 15 Delicious Beef And Broccoli Recipes

How To Tell If Your Broccoli Is Bad: Smell 

When it comes to identifying whether or not food has gone bad, the most common indicator is smell. 

Have you ever opened your fridge and almost got knocked over by an extremely unpleasant odor? 

If this happens, it’s a good idea to find the root cause of it. If you suspect it might be your broccoli, take a look at the following indicators. 

how to tell if broccoli is bad

Indicator  Description 
Florets
  • When broccoli is in its prime, it should smell pleasant, fresh and slightly vegetal.
  • If you open your fridge and are greeted by a pungent, bad odor, it’s likely time to get rid of your broccoli. 
  • However, it’s important to note that because broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, it produces a compound called sulforaphane. 
  • This compound produces an odor that may exist even when the broccoli is still okay to eat. 
  • At the end of the day, it’s up to your best judgment. If the smell is unbearable, it’s likely rotten.
  • If you’re still feeling unsure, look for some of the other indicators, such as the texture, color, or whether or not mold is present. 
Stems/trunk 
  • In terms of odor, the stem and trunk will have essentially the same characteristics as the florets. 
  • If it’s abnormally sulphuric or possesses a strong, unpleasant scent, then it’s time to throw it in the trash. 

How To Tell If Your Broccoli Is Bad: Color 

After smell, the second most obvious indicator of rotten veggies is appearance. 

When you look at your broccoli and your instincts are telling you that something is off visually, you’re probably right. 

The color, in particular, will be a sure sign of this. For further reassurance, check out these indicators:

how to tell if broccoli is bad

Indicator  Description 
Florets
  • In their prime, florets will possess a dark green hue. In terms of appearance, they should look healthy and fresh and rich in color.
  • When the florets start to lose their color, you know it has gone bad.
  • There are two main colors to look out for when examining the florets: yellow and brown.
  • If either of these colors is visible on the florets, it’s time to toss. 
    NOTE: Technically, eating some yellow spots will not be harmful, but they will taste bitter.
  • If only a small section of the florets are yellow, simply cut them out and use the rest. 
Stems/trunk 
  • In terms of the stem and trunk, the same approach applies.
  • The stems and trunk will be bright green in their healthiest forms.
  • When they begin to go bad, they may begin to lose some of their vibrancy. 

RELATED: 15 Stunning Chicken Teriyaki and Broccoli Recipes

How To Tell If Your Broccoli Is Bad: Mold 

Hopefully, your broccoli never reaches this state. If it does, don’t worry. We’ve all been there- you haven’t cleaned out the fridge in a while and food gets lost in the abyss that is the back of the crisper drawer. 

You start to notice a strong odor and decide it’s time to go on a hunt to identify where the smell is coming from. And that’s when you discover it.

A shriveled lump of something that once resembled food, is now covered in mold. 

Mold is extremely unhealthy and, when consumed, can make you very sick. If you’re not sure whether or not the spots on your broccoli are moldy, the indications in the following chart may be able to help you. 

Indicator  Description 
Florets
  • As mentioned in the previous sections, florets should be dark green in color and look fresh and vibrant.
  • When your florets begin to go bad, they may start to develop mold.
  • This will appear in the form of white, fuzzy spots on the florets and should not be consumed under any circumstances.
  • When the florets have really past their prime, the mold may even become black and shriveled. When this happens, it’s important to discard it immediately. 
Stems/trunk 
  • When the stems and stalk are healthy, they will appear light green in color and will be firm and strong in texture.
  • However, if mold begins to take over, the stems and stalks will start to develop black spots.
  • Eating these spots should be avoided at all costs. 
    NOTE: While it is unsafe to consume areas that are moldy if only a small section of your broccoli is black or fuzzy, simply cut these parts out and use the rest.
  • However, if the mold is all over the crown and trunk, we highly recommend throwing it away (if you’re unsure, it’s best to not risk it). 
how to tell if broccoli is bad

Frequently Asked Questions

What Will Happen If You Eat Broccoli That Has Gone Bad? 

Eating broccoli that has gone bad is rare as it tastes so bad, you likely won’t be able to consume more than one bite. 

In the unfortunate case that you do eat a greater quantity of expired broccoli, a number of things may happen. 

As mentioned, eating a bit of yellow broccoli likely won’t cause any harm, but if your broccoli has passed this state and is significantly spoiled, you might be faced with more serious health concerns. 

Food poisoning, for example, may occur. Symptoms of this include: mild cramps, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

If your broccoli has reached the state where it is contaminated and has developed bacteria, you may become even more ill and need immediate medical attention. 

This could be the case when consuming large amounts of moldy broccoli. If you are experiencing any of the following, it’s important you get in contact with a medical professional as soon as possible: shortness of breath, nausea, an elevated temperature, or diarrhea.

How Long Does Broccoli Last In The Fridge?

Being aware of how long your broccoli will last in the fridge is a great way to prevent it from expiring. 

After purchasing broccoli at the store, your broccoli can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. This estimate includes broccoli that is both raw and cooked. 

However, if you decide to chop your raw broccoli up into smaller pieces for easier storage, it normally only lasts in the fridge for 2 days, so make sure to eat it up quickly!

These estimates may vary slightly, depending on how fresh the broccoli is you got from the store, so it’s good to check on it daily to ensure it isn’t starting to go bad. 

How To Choose Fresh Broccoli At The Grocery Store

Choosing the right broccoli at the grocery store (or farmer’s market, if that’s more your kind of thing), will help to ensure that your broccoli has the longest shelf life possible. 

Before diving into what to look out for, it’s good to know the different ways broccoli is sold. Broccoli comes in a variety of forms, including the crown (top of broccoli) only, the crown and trunk and even just loose florets. 

Regardless of the type, there are several indicators to be aware of when deciding on what broccoli to buy:

  • The florets should be dark green, fresh and free from any yellow or brown spots. 
  • The florets should possess flower buds that are tightly closed. 
  • The trunk should be firm- it will be heavier than it looks. 
  • There should be no presence of dryness, wilting or cracks anywhere on the broccoli. 
how to tell if broccoli is bad

How Do You Properly Store Broccoli?

There are two main ways to store your broccoli: 

  • In The Fridge: if you’re planning on using your broccoli in the next few days, your best bet is to store it in the fridge in the crisper.
  • Broccoli requires air circulation when stored, so the first step is to place your broccoli in either a perforated bag (you can also just poke holes in a normal bag) or one that is loosely closed. 

It’s important to remember not to wash your broccoli prior to storing it in the fridge as this will cause it to become mushy and develop mold more quickly (however,   when you are going to eat it, make sure it has been washed thoroughly). If your broccoli is already wet, pat it dry with a paper towel. 

Another good point to note when storing your broccoli this way is to avoid putting it in the same space as fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, as broccoli is sensitive to this and will expire more quickly when exposed to it. 

You can store the broccoli in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. 

  • In The Freezer: if you want to eat your broccoli at a later date, it can also be stored in the freezer. 

The key to storing broccoli this way is all in the prep work. Broccoli has to be blanched first to solidify the color and texture so that it doesn’t become soft when it thaws. If you’re not sure how to do this, here are step-by-step instructions:

  • Cut broccoli into small pieces
  • Boil a large pot of hot water
  • Place broccoli pieces in the hot water and cook for 2-3 minutes (until they are bright green in color)
  • Immediately place in an ice bath
  • Remove broccoli pieces and pat dry
  • Place pieces on a baking sheet in single file in the freezer until fully frozen
  • Once frozen, put broccoli pieces into a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to a year

How Do You Dispose Of Rotten Broccoli?

If your broccoli is simply yellow, you can just throw it in the regular waste bin. 

However, if your broccoli has developed mold, it is a good idea to place it in an airtight bag before throwing it away. You should also ensure you clean the areas in the fridge that were exposed to the mold with disinfectant. 

If your broccoli leaves behind an unpleasant smell even after disposing of it, try placing an open box of baking soda where the odor is most prominent. The baking soda should soak it up in about three days. 

Can You Eat Yellow Broccoli?

Yes, yellow broccoli is safe to eat, however, it will possess a bitter flavor. 

Jess Smith