Broccoli is another form of the vegetable cabbage and is native to the northern Mediterranean. Nowadays, the global production of broccoli totals over 30 million tonnes a year with India and China being the main contributors to this total.
Despite its popularity, though there is still a big divide between those who really love it and those who hate it.
Broccoli is enjoyed in various ways across the world including boiled, steamed, roasted, even sauteed, and adds big nutritional value to meals whilst also being low in calories.
Today we’ll be giving you advice on the best ways to store broccoli to prolong its shelf life and also giving you some tips on the best ways to cook it.
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Keeping your broccoli at room temperature
Broccoli can be kept out at room temperature on your counter or in your pantry, however, it’ll last for around 2 days as room temperature quickly turns the broccoli yellow and bad.
So unless you plan on eating your broccoli, 1-2 days after buying it we recommend storing it elsewhere to keep it as fresh as possible.
If the temperature in your house is too hot, you should avoid leaving your broccoli out as bacteria thrives in warmer conditions and within two hours, the broccoli will be unsuitable to eat.
Keeping your broccoli in the refrigerator
The best place to keep your broccoli stored is in the refrigerator. Before placing them in there, you should mist the heads of the broccoli or wrap them up in a damp paper towel.
Do not place your broccoli into any containers or plastic bags, as they need air circulation to keep fresh.
However, you should never wash or rinse broccoli completely before storing it otherwise it’ll have excessive moisture on the surface and be more prone to getting mold.
Before you start cooking your broccoli, you should make sure to give it a good rinse to ensure there is no dirt on there.
If you happen to have a large enough refrigerator, you could place the stems of the broccoli into a bottle or pitcher that is filled with ice water and keep the heads of the broccoli covered with a plastic bag.
Do not submerge the whole broccoli in the water though. Make sure to change the ice water every day and you’ll be guaranteed to have fresh, crispy broccoli for a whole week.
Keeping your broccoli in the freezer
The easiest way to store your broccoli in the freezer is to cut it into smaller florets and stalks beforehand then steam or blanch them for about 4 minutes, any longer and they will go too limp.
Then place the steamed broccoli into ice water to stop cooking and then pat them dry. You can then place them in sealed freezer bags or airtight containers and keep them for up to 12 months.
Make sure you resale the broccoli properly if you remove some for cooking. Do not let the broccoli in the freezer bag defrost properly at room temperature and then place it back in the freezer.
Cooking broccoli from frozen
You can add your frozen broccoli straight to any dish when you’re cooking without having to defrost it beforehand.
Do not let it dethaw before using it in your cooking as the consistency of the broccoli will turn mushy and the cell structure is destroyed when you freeze it. You’ll find some of the best ways to cook broccoli from frozen at the end of this article.
How to store cooked broccoli
Cooked broccoli should be kept in an airtight container, plastic bag, or covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrapping and will last for 3-5 days.
If you’ve cooked a dish that contains many ingredients including broccoli, you’ll want to be wary that it may cause the broccoli to go bad quicker, especially if it is meat. You can place cooked broccoli into the freezer for up to 12 months.
How to know if broccoli has gone bad
One of the easiest ways to see if broccoli has gone bad is that the broccoli florists will be a dull yellow color instead of its original dark green color.
Yellow broccoli is still ok to eat but it will taste quite bitter, so unless you’re going to heavenly season it to overpower the bitterness, you’re probably best just throwing it out.
If there are only some florets that have gone yellow, then you can cut them out and use the rest of the broccoli that is still green. Yellow broccoli indicates that it has lost most of its nutritional value.
If there are any moldy or black spots anywhere on your broccoli then you’ll want to discard it straight away.
The stems of broccoli will go soft instead of their harder texture when they’ve gone bad. Any leaves on the broccoli will also look limp instead of fresh.
When the broccoli has gone bad, there will also be a strong odor coming from it. Broccoli usually has a fresh smell and once it’s gone bad it gives off a bitter aroma. So if a smell starts coming from your broccoli, then you should immediately throw it out.
The best ways to cook broccoli
Boiling: Add your fresh chopped broccoli florets to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Drain and leave to steam for one minute. To boil frozen broccoli that has already been cooked it will only take 2-3 minutes.
Sautee: If you’re not a fan of the ‘green’ flavor of broccoli, then sauteing them with some other ingredients can help you consume it more easily.
Place some florets of broccoli (that has been boiled for 3-4 minutes) into a pan with some oil, minced garlic, and lemon juice and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Roasting: Cut your raw broccoli into smaller bite-size pieces and place them on a baking tray. Spray with some cooking spray or mix in a bowl with some olive oil beforehand.
Add salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 15 minutes until the broccoli is tender and lightly browned.
Steaming: Add 3-5 ounces of boiling hot water to a pan on the stove. Once the water is bubbling, add your steaming basket to the pan and place your broccoli into the basket, and cover it with a lid.
It should only take 5-7 to cook the broccoli florets until they’re tender.