How To Tell If Broccoli Is Bad? The Ultimate Guide

In the cabbage family, broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family, which provides health benefits. Despite broccoli’s nutritional and health benefits, it is a perishable food, so it should be consumed whenever it is fresh.

You need to know when it has gone past its expiration date if you want to make sure you don’t consume bad broccoli.

How To Tell If Broccoli Is Bad and what are the signs that broccoli is bad? Check for signs of spoilage to determine if broccoli is bad. Broccoli that is discolored, wilted, or even moldy could be the cause. Additionally, you can try and smell the broccoli for off odors, which is another sign that the broccoli has gone bad.

You can learn more about identifying bad broccoli, the lifespan of broccoli, and how to store it by reading on.

How To Tell If Broccoli Is Bad?

Signs That Broccoli Is Bad

Some signs of bad broccoli can be identified. You should check all parts of the broccoli even if only a few of them show signs of spoiling, just to be sure!

To tell if broccoli is bad, look for these signs:


If the broccoli trunk is soft, this is a sign that the broccoli is bad. Broccoli roots are firm and robust when they are fresh.

In this case, the broccoli is already going bad or is starting to go bad.


Bright green florets and a white trunk hold together a fresh head of broccoli. With its bright green trunk and dark green color, broccoli proves to be fresh and fine for consumption.

The colors of broccoli change, however, as soon as they start to spoil. As the broccoli florets grow, the tips become yellow or light brown rather than dark green.

According to how bad the discoloration is, your broccoli is either rotten or has already gone bad.

Signs Of Mold

It is a certain sign that the broccoli is spoiled if it appears to have mold on it. Ensure that no mold is hiding anywhere on the broccoli by thoroughly inspecting it.

Fuzzy white blotches on the broccoli florets and black spots on the bright green trunk will be indicators of mold.

When eating broccoli with some mold spots, some people choose to cut them out and continue eating the broccoli. However, this is completely up to you.

Mold can be hiding amongst the florets of broccoli, so it is better to avoid eating it if any is present.


A fresh broccoli smell should be balanced with a little bit of earthiness. This could indicate that the broccoli has gone bad. If the broccoli has a bad or bitter smell, then you should not eat it.

In spite of broccoli not always having a pleasant smell, you can tell when it is fresh and when it smells rotten or not by the smell.

Look for other indicators listed above if smell alone isn’t sufficient.

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Broccoli That Has Gone Bad

The consumption of spoiled food is never recommended. Vegetables, especially, should always be eaten fresh.

The health benefits of broccoli are lost when it goes bad. Besides vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, broccoli has a lot of fiber.

For most of us, the health benefits are what make broccoli so appealing. The more the broccoli spoils, the more health benefits you lose!

You can also become ill from eating food that has gone bad, such as broccoli, which has bacteria on it.

When broccoli goes bad, bacterial growth will increase, which can cause foodborne illness.

It is advisable to check for mold on bad broccoli before eating it.

Bad broccoli will not taste good at all, so it is a waste of time to eat it if it has gone bad.

How To Store Broccoli

Properly storing broccoli will keep it fresh for a longer period of time.

You can make sure it doesn’t go bad before you use it if you know how to properly store broccoli before it spoils.

The vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator is the best place to store broccoli.

Place the broccoli in the fridge without cutting or washing the florets. If you are going to cook or eat broccoli, you should do this.

Broccoli is one of the few vegetables that do well with a little bit of moisture.

A damp paper towel can be used to wrap the broccoli head and the resulting open plastic bag (in a fridge with circulation) can prolong its shelf life.

The broccoli will go bad faster if you leave it at room temperature.

When buying pre-cut broccoli in florets, keep it in the package, or in a sealed plastic bag, for up to three days in the refrigerator.

It is possible to store broccoli in the refrigerator up to two days after cooking.

Can You Freeze Broccoli?

It is possible to freeze broccoli if you are not going to use it right away.

Blanching broccoli prior to freezing stops enzymatic reactions that can ruin its nutrients and flavor.

When you thaw broccoli that hasn’t been blanched before freezing, it will likely become quite mushy and won’t taste as great as you had hoped.

To blanch the broccoli, you should cut it up into individual florets, and place them in boiling water for 5 minutes.

The broccoli should be removed from the boiling water after 5 minutes and immediately placed in an ice bath. By doing so, you prevent the broccoli from cooking further.

Broccoli will remain crisp, green, and full of nutrients when frozen.

When putting the broccoli into a plastic freezer container, ensure that it is completely dry before squeezing out the air and sealing it. 

As broccoli can be used best if it is frozen within six months, bear this in mind when packing the packaging. Even though it is safe to eat after this, it will start to lose nutrients, taste, and texture.

Many people love to store Bagels in the fridge but until when you can use Bagels visit How Long Do Bagels Last? to know more!

How Do I Choose Fresh Broccoli At The Store?

Broccoli that is purchased at the store when it is fresh helps to ensure that it lasts longer before spoiling.

Blueish-green to dark-green florets should cover the head of the broccoli. If the head of the broccoli is crowded or the leaves are yellow and dried out, then do not buy it.

Ideally, broccoli should have crisp stalks and firm stems, not mushy or soft ones. Moreover, broccoli shouldn’t emit any unpleasant smells.

Broccoli that is fresher is best!

Related Questions

Let’s take a look at a few related questions to broccoli now that we’ve learned how to tell when it’s gone bad!

Can you eat broccoli that has turned yellow?

It is still fine to eat broccoli even if it has turned yellow. It is a sign that it is on the verge of going bad, not that its bad already.

Make sure the stem and the florets of the broccoli are still firm. It is a good idea to determine if the broccoli has an off odor as well.

When you are ready to use the broccoli, be sure to wash it well, and if the broccoli is still green, you can even trim off some of its yellow parts.

What does it mean if broccoli turns purple?

Once green broccoli has turned bluish-purple, you might be a bit confused.

Anthocyanin is the purple pigment that causes this reaction. It occurs naturally and has a blueish-purple color.

If the broccoli hasn’t gone bad, you can eat purple broccoli.

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