The Only Way To Prevent Fresh Broccoli From Turning Limp and Gross|Recipes Spots

  • on October 17, 2023
The Only Way To Prevent Fresh Broccoli From Turning Limp and Gross

Bowl of broccoli florrets on a kitchen towel
Simply Recipe / Adobe Stock

After a week or weekend of rushed, nutritionally void meals, there’s one thing I always crave: broccoli. Something about its verdant color, the crisp-tender snap of its stem, and the grassy flavor of its florets make me feel infinitely healthier after just a few bites. And I’m never sad about eating it because it’s delicious. From a simple side of blanched broccoli tossed in a vinaigrette to something a bit more decadent, this readily available veggie never lets me down.  

But how do you keep your broccoli as bright and crisp in the fridge as it was when you pick it up from the grocery store? I spoke with Amy Bragagnini, MS, RD, CSO, about the best ways to maintain your broccoli’s freshness. Plus, tips for how to tell when it’s gone bad.

How To Choose the Freshest Broccoli at the Store

When perusing the shelves of your grocery store for prime broccoli, Bragagnini suggests choosing the most vibrantly green stalks. The buds on the florets should be tightly closed, and there should be no brown or yellow spots on them. “Be picky when you choose this delicious vegetable,” she says, “you deserve the best!” 

A person snapping off broccoli florrets from the stalk over a cutting board with more broccoli
Simply Recipes / Getty Images

The Best Way To Store Broccoli

Bragagnini suggests washing your broccoli before storing it and drying it well to ensure it’s not sitting in any excess moisture. (I shake it vigorously over the sink after washing it under cold running water to make the water fly out.)

“Because broccoli needs a little breathing room, I store mine in a perforated bag to encourage airflow,” she explains. If you don’t have a perforated bag, loosely wrap your broccoli in a large plastic bag and leave it unsealed. As with most vegetables, broccoli is best stored in the crisper drawer where it will last for three to five days.

How can you tell your broccoli has gone bad and needs to be composted? Any yellow or brown spots on the florets mean it’s starting to spoil. The stem may feel limp when it’s about to go bad. White or black patches on the florets or the stem are likely mold—you shouldn’t eat it. The broccoli may also smell rancid, which means it’s time to toss it out.

Broccoli Florets and Stalk Cut into Bite Size Pieces on a Cutting Board for Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Recipe
Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

How To Revive Limp Broccoli

Bragagnini also has a smart trick for breathing new life into past-their-prime stalks. As long as you don’t see any mold on the broccoli (if so, toss it!) try this trick: “I like to cut about 1/2 inch off the end of the stalk and place the broccoli in a bowl of water, stalk-down. It’s amazing that this simple step works!” Place it in the refrigerator and it’ll only take a couple of hours for the broccoli to perk up, leading to a much snappier texture.

5 Simple Ways To Enjoy Broccoli

  • Microwave Broccoli with Sesame Dressing
  • Charred Skillet Broccoli
  • Broccoli Stir-Fry With Ginger and Sesame
  • Broccoli with Crispy Cheese
  • Roasted Broccoli With Parmesan
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