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Broccoli Smells Bad But Looks Fine – 3 Things to Know

Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. The University of Hiroshima found molecules in Broccoli that are believed to lead to cell death of several types of cancer.

It is therefore a good idea to stock broccoli in your fridge. But from time to time you might forget your health broccoli and ask yourself if it is still good to eat and you might ask yourself the following:

Broccoli Smells Bad But Looks Fine. Can I still eat the broccoli?

Regardless of how careful you are with fresh produce, at some point, everyone finds rotten vegetables in their freezer. I know how terrible I feel when this happens. Instead of tossing it into the trash, I think about ways I can incorporate the vegetable into my next meal.

However, this gets a little tricky with broccoli. Most times, the broccoli looks fine, but it emits a sour odor, and I am faced with a dilemma- should I compost it or consume it? 

Broccoli Smells Bad But Looks Fine

If broccoli smells bad but looks fine it should be discarded. To generally know if broccoli has gone bad look at the texture, smell, and color of the broccoli. For example, if you find mold growing on the florets, it is time to discard the broccoli. Similarly, if it smells bad, it won’t taste good either. The last indication of bad broccoli is how firm it feels. If you see that it looks wilted, soft, or dried out, it is best to toss it in the bin.

Broccoli Smells Bad But Looks Fine
Broccoli Smells Bad But Looks Fine

Now that you have a fair idea of what bad broccoli might look like, allow me to lay out all the details so that you do not accidentally consume it and end the next two days at the hospital recovering from a bad case of food poisoning.

How to Know if Broccoli Has Gone Bad? Check 3 Things

1. Check the Color of Broccoli to know if it has gone bad

I found that the easiest way to know if Broccoli has gone bad is by looking at its color. Usually, fresh broccoli is bright and green in color.

If you find that the broccoli you have pulled out from your fridge is developing brown or yellow spots, it is an indication that it is starting to spoil. However, you can still consume it during this time. I usually just cut out all the discolored parts and add the broccoli to a pan to steam.

I have to warn you that if you find black or white fuzzy patches on the florets of your vegetable, do not consume it. The fuzziness is mold that has started to form on your broccoli, probably because you kept it at the back of your freezer and forgot all about it.

Don’t worry; it happens to me all the time. The only thing you should do at this point is to toss the broccoli in the trash or compost it.

Check the color of the Broccoli
Check the color of the Broccoli

2. Beware of the Smell of Broccoli

Now, I definitely wouldn’t recommend sniffing broccoli too closely if you are wary that it might be rotten. I have done that, and let me tell you, it really was not a pleasant experience.

You can usually tell something is wrong when the crisper drawer smells funky and your entire fridge gives out an unpleasant odor. This is when you might want to take a look at the broccoli you bought last week.

In my experience, I found that if you can smell broccoli when you take it out of the fridge, something is not okay. The crown of broccoli should smell fresh and like a vegetable. 

When you cut the broccoli into florets, it releases a compound called sulforaphane. This compound is found in other cruciferous vegetables and can give off a strong smell. If the smell is mild, you can probably still eat your broccoli. However, if the smell is too strong, I would suggest not consuming it.

Smell the Broccoli
Smell the Broccoli

3. Feel the Texture of Broccoli to know if it has gone bad

After spending years in the kitchen, I have realized that texture is of great importance, whether it is fruit or vegetable. When you take out broccoli from the fridge, you need to check the stem to see if it is firm. If you find that it is soft, it means that the broccoli is going bad.

Moreover, the stalk of the broccoli should not look dried out or cracked. If the bottom looks dry, you can always cut it out and consume the vegetable as you want.

 However, I would be careful enough to check for other signs of spoilage. If the florets and stem look wilted, it is best to toss the broccoli out instead of consuming it.

Feel the Texture of Broccoli
Feel the Texture of Broccoli

How to Prevent Broccoli from Going Bad

Now that you are aware of the signs to tell whether broccoli has gone bad, I am here to make your life easier by helping you learn how to keep your broccoli fresh.

Step 1

After countless research, I found that what worked best was reviving broccoli by trimming the stem and then putting the vegetable in a glass container filled with cold water. This will help unwilt the vegetable, almost like fresh produce.

Step 2

All you have to do is leave the jar of broccoli in the fridge for an hour, and soon, you will see that the vegetable will drink up all the water and become crisp again.

Step 3

Since broccoli does not have a long shelf life, I would strongly recommend not storing it in the freezer for longer than three to five days. Broccoli is almost like a bouquet of flowers- keep its stems in cold water, and you will see the vegetable look as good as new. 

Step 4

You can also simply wrap up your broccoli in some damp paper towels before putting them in the fridge. This will ensure that they do not go bad too quickly. As someone who loves adding broccoli to meals, I know the pain of dealing with rotten vegetables, which is why I urge everyone to learn how to prevent this from happening.

Broccoli in container filled with cold water
Broccoli in a container filled with cold water

Frequently Asked Questions Broccoli Smells Bad But Looks Fine – How To Know If Broccoli Has Gone Bad? 3 Signs

How long does broccoli last in the fridge?

If you are careful, you can make broccoli last for up to a week in the fridge. Cooked broccoli, on the other hand, will last you approximately four to five days.

How to choose broccoli at the grocery store?

I’ve learned that the best way to buy broccoli is to pick those with tight, dark green florets with a lush green trunk. Moreover, the vegetable should feel firm. You should also ensure that there are no spots on the trunk.

Can you freeze broccoli?

You can blanch and freeze broccoli for up to six months. After this time period, it will get freezer burn.