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The Best Possible Way to Store Fresh Broccoli

Updated on January 12, 2014

Put Your Freshly Doused Broccoli on a Towel in the Fridge and It'll Live Healthily, Long Past Its Sell-by Date

Update To Storing Fresh Broccoli

I live in a cold climate and since I first published this article, a couple of years ago I've found that in the winter months there's less need to refrigerate broccoli. (It seems common sense now.) Broccoli, kept out of the fridge in vases or bowls in the I way described in my hub, "The Best Possible Way to Store Fresh Green Vegetables"' will thrive in the winter months without flowering.

Especially if it feels a bit limp and rubbery when you get it home from the supermarket, you can put it in water just like other vegetables and it'll start to firm up healthily. Just make sure you get it into the fridge if you see signs of it flowering. (Or turn down the central heating).

How to avoid waste with fresh green vegetables

If you look at the piece of broccoli in the photo above, you’ll see that there are brown patches and green patches. I brought this piece of broccoli home from the supermarket three weeks ago which puts it well past its 'use-by' date now. However, by the time I met up with it on the supermarket shelf, it was already in a poor state of health. Yet, as you'll see above, in no time, the fresh green buds were growing through the old ones.

This hub, albeit entirely empirical, will show you how to keep your green vegetables healthy and burgeoning, for long past their 'use-by' dates. I'll be focusing on broccoli, in particular. I dealt with most of the other common or garden vegetables, in a hub called, The Best Possible Way to Store Fresh Green Vegetables.

The main point I made in that blog, was that, if you put your fresh green vegetables into water, in the same way you’d put fresh flowers into a vase to let them draw water into their stems, you'd be able to keep your fresh vegetables healthy for much longer.

I pointed out in that blog that I'd kept cabbages, celery, and various other fresh green vegetables for months past the recommended 'use-by' date, using this method. However, at that time, the problem I had with broccoli was that it started to flower. In a way, I suppose I could say it was thriving too much.

This hub is mainly an update on that initial hub. Douse your broccoli with the rest of the vegetables, and then refrigerate it; that's the key. I wrap it, or place it buds down on a towel to soak up the excess water.

I immerse my vegetables in water daily, for two main reasons: Firstly, I feel that the more often I wash them, the more pesticides, bacteria and impurities I can expect to cleanse from them. Secondly, I've found that this daily dousing, then refrigerating of broccoli, keeps it fresh and healthy, without it flowering.

Here's why I wash my vegetables daily.

Two main reasons:

Firstly, the more often I wash them, the more toxins, bacteria and pesticides I expect to wash away. Not everyone can afford to buy organic vegetables and if you're like me, you probably aren't too convinced that there's much difference between the organic and the bog-standard anyway.

Secondly, the vegetables perk up; they really come to life, showing a vibrancy of colour and firmness to the touch. Vegetables that came home from the supermarket looking limp, faded and sorry for themselves seem to revive in no time. I can keep my vegetables for months this way. The celery leaves start to branch out and proliferate. The inner, whiter leaves of cabbage will eventually turn green as you peel off the outer layers for eating, exposing the inner layers to sunlight. It has something to do with photosynthesis, (which is a highly sophisticated, scientific word that top scientists use, to test if their false teeth are fitting snugly).

I did a blog some time ago, here on Hubpages called The Best Possible Way to Store Fresh Green Vegetables, in which I described how I'd found that, by putting my green vegetables into water, as you would a bunch of flowers, as soon as I get them home from the supermarket, I can keep them fresh, healthy and thriving. Not just for days or weeks, but for months. They even start to grow little roots at the base.

So, if you get one of these 'three-for-the-price-of-two' offers, or any other kind of bargain, which, in reality encourages waste by leaving you with a glut of vegetables, you can snap it up knowing you can avoid waste by tending your vegetables in this way.

Anyway, this blog is just an update on my further findings, all of which I've tried and tested over months - going into years. This is my daily routine now and I assure you it works well for me. Vegetables are living things and when they're well looked after, not only do they stay fresh, but they also burgeon.

In that previous hub I said that broccoli is different in that if you put it into water and leave it in daylight, it starts to flower. Not everyone wants to eat the little yellow flowers that blossom from it. It seems the top of the broccoli consists of lots of little buds and that’s why they all blossom into little yellow flowers.

I've discovered two new things in particular further to that initial blog:

Firstly, broccoli does keep fresh and vibrant long past the 'use-by' dates, if I douse it in water daily, and then place it, buds down, on a towel in the fridge to stop the buds from flowering. Secondly, all my vegetables benefit from daily dousing. It reminds me of the seed sprouting process, where you douse the seeds in water daily to make them germinate and sprout. If you're interested in this highly nutritious form of home food preparation, just put ‘spouting seeds’ into your search engine, and you'll find an abundance of info. It's simple, fun and I think kids like it - but they mightn't want to eat any of it. (You can't win them all.)

Anyway, as soon as I get my vegetables home, I take them out of the packaging and douse them in a sink full of fresh water. I even do this with fresh unadulterated vegetables straight out of friends and neighbours' gardens, because if I leave the soil on, they rot more quickly. I don't know why, but fresh clean water is the answer to that too.

Mind you, I live in Scotland where there’s no shortage of water, and I realise that water isn't so abundant in other parts of the world. It might even work out cheaper to buy organic produce than pay the extra water charges incurred by washing vegetables daily. It’s a funny old world. (They say England is heading for another hosepipe ban this year - yet they're flooded out at present.)

However, this method certainly works well for me and I just love to see my vegetables vibrant, firm to the touch and so obviously thriving. Then I go and spoil it all, by cooking and eating them. I didn’t say I’m perfect.

Here's A Pretty Picture

Click thumbnail to view full-size
There's no practical reason for this photo - other than that it just looks attractive to me.  (I don't get out much.)
There's no practical reason for this photo - other than that it just looks attractive to me.  (I don't get out much.)
There's no practical reason for this photo - other than that it just looks attractive to me. (I don't get out much.)

No Waste With This Little Fella

Is There Life After Sell-By Date?

Pointed cabbage - without the point
Pointed cabbage - without the point
Gone to seeds
Gone to seeds
Celery and sunlight
Celery and sunlight
A Bouquet of Cabbage Flowers
A Bouquet of Cabbage Flowers


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    • Pollyannalana profile image


      2 years ago from US

      I just heard a news report showed mice becoming healthy and acting younger with a broccoli diet so I am going to start making it a regular. I could use younger. lol

      Hope you are well!

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      I didn't know much about all this until recent months/years toknowinfo. I think it all started with a glut of cabbages and one thing led to another. It works very well for me and I just thought I should share it with anyone interested.

      Thank you, thrice thank you, for dropping by again.

    • toknowinfo profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, thanks Amillar, I didn't know any of what you just taught me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi Jackie,

      I find that celery is by far the easiest veg to tend this way. The leaves seem to burgeon without the slightest encouragement. But I take all the wrappings off all vegetables I bring home, as soon as possible.

      Maybe it has something to do with the water, but it's more likely to be something to do with the way their grown, or stored. All I can say is it works well for me.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi bmcoll3278 - I forgot to mention on this blog that it's best to put the broccoli top down onto a towel, or kitchen towel, so that it's isn't left lying in a pool of water in the fridge. I've amended it above.

      Yes, I do, do this with lettuce, but I never buy lettuce. I normally get a glut of it in the summer from friends and family. I've found that it can be a bit more prone to rotting and wilting than cabbage for example. Get the soil off it; that's where the rot seems to start. I never worry about buying too many vegetables these days. There’s very little waste.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I will try this with broccoli. I do wash all my veggies and I tried the celery in water but it didn't work for me. Maybe it is our contaminated water. Celery so far does best for me if I rinse it good and the inside of the plastic wrapper and then put it back in wet and put in fridge. It lasts a couple weeks very well. Broccoli I have always used or froze but I will try this, thanks for the info.

      Well I see no way to vote you up here. I don't even see your picture.

      I hate new and improved. haha

    • bmcoll3278 profile image


      6 years ago from Longmont, Colorado

      This is absolutely awesome info I love this hub. great job I will do this from now on. I have started plants this way but would never have thought of doing it with my vegies. I love salad but it always goes bad. will this work with a head of lettuce ?


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