Brussel sprouts can be a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet, but like any green vegetable they can go bad quickly. To get the most out of your Brussel sprouts you need to know how to gauge their freshness and store them properly.
Brussel sprouts can go bad over time, especially if you take them off the stalk and peel their outer layer of leaves off. Sprouts can last up to four days in the pantry, two weeks in the refrigerator, or up to a year in the freezer as long as you keep them whole and put them in the right container.
To make sure your Brussel sprouts stay fresh for as long as possible, you need to know how long they last in different conditions.
Do Brussel Sprouts Go Bad? How Long Do Brussel Sprouts Last?
Brussel sprouts, like many vegetables, can have a very short shelf life depending on where and how you store them, so you need to be careful with them.
How Long Do Brussel Sprouts Last Outside
Brussel sprouts can actually survive up to four days in the pantry or cupboard but they need a lot of special care to make sure they survive.
First and foremost, you should not trim, peel, or wash any parts of your Brussel sprouts until you are ready to cook them, since this can cause the sprouts to start rotting faster and shorten their shelf life.
Second, you need to make sure you keep your sprouts in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry area so that the sprouts aren’t exposed to any heat, light, or moisture that might cause them to go bad.
How Long Do Brussel Sprouts Last in the Fridge
How long Brussel sprouts can survive in the refrigerator depends on how you prepare them before they go in, since their leaves and stalks have an effect on their shelf life
If you keep the sprouts on the stalk and don’t peel back any of the outer layer of leaves, Brussel sprouts can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
If you cut the individual sprouts off their stalks and peel back the outer leaves, however, the Brussel sprouts will only last a week at most in a container before they start to go bad.
How Long Do Brussel Sprouts Last in the Freezer
Unlike with the refrigerator, Brussel sprouts have the same shelf life in the freezer regardless of whether they come in unpeeled stalks or individually peeled and picked.
Brussel sprouts can last up to a year in the freezer as long as they are kept in an airtight, freezer safe container and they are blanched before they are frozen, since this helps to preserve the sprouts.
Blanching is the process of briefly boiling then cooling vegetables off in order to bring out their natural flavors and help to preserve them in the long term, which helps when putting Brussel sprouts in the freezer.
Brussel sprouts, being vegetables, have a relatively short shelf life outside of a freezer or refrigerator, so if you want to keep them long term you will have to use an appliance.
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Have Gone Bad / How To Know Brussel Sprouts Are Fresh
There are many ways to tell if your Brussel sprouts have gone bad, as there are many obvious signs that your sprouts are starting to go bad, ranging from appearance to smell. If you find your Brussel sprouts starting to show signs of spoiling, you should throw them out as soon as possible.
Color. As Brussel sprouts start to go bad, they will turn a light, pale green at the roots and the edges of the leaves will start to brown, however you can still save the sprouts at this point if you remove the browned edges. Once mold or other infestations start to set in the sprouts will start to discolor and develop dark, fuzzy spots and should be thrown out immediately.
Smell. Fresh Brussel sprouts have a strong, pleasant earthy smell that fades over time, eventually becoming harsh and sour as they start to go bad. An unpleasant smell coming from Brussel sprouts can be a sign that the sprouts are spoiling, or it can indicate that the sprouts are molding.
Texture. There are many different textures that indicate Brussel sprouts are going bad, such as wilting or shriveled leaves and soggy, spongy stalks. Whether your Brussel sprouts appear tough and dry or soft and wet, both are a good sign that the sprouts are starting to go bad and should be tossed.
How to Store Brussel Sprouts?
Brussel sprouts go bad in stages, and while you can eat the sprouts with browned leaves or withered stalks, they are less flavorful and nutritious than fresh Brussel sprouts. If you want to keep your sprouts as fresh as possible, you will need to know how to store them properly long-term.
Keep your sprouts dry and whole. Brussel sprouts rot faster when they are wet and when their stalks are cut off, so you’ll want to keep your sprouts intact as much as possible until you need to serve them. Even washing your sprouts before storing them is a bad idea, since Brussel sprouts absorb water and can rot because of it.
Store sprouts in an airtight container. Besides water and trimming, Brussel sprouts can also wither extremely quickly in the open air so you need to keep them in an airtight container. You also need to make sure the container is completely clean and dry before you put the sprouts in, since Brussel sprouts are sensitive to moisture.
Can You Freeze Brussel Sprouts? How?
Brussel sprouts can be safely frozen, but in order to do this you need to blanche the sprouts with hot and cold water first to make sure they survive being frozen. If you don’t properly blanche and store Brussel sprouts before freezing them, the extreme cold will cause the sprouts to go bad even faster.
Blanching. In order to blanche Brussel sprouts, you have to peel the outer layer of leaves, cut off the stalks, and then prepare two pots of water, one to boil and the other with ice cubes. Boil the sprouts for 3-5 minutes depending on how large they are, then drain them and immediately soak them in the ice water when you are finished.
Storage. After blanching the Brussel sprouts you need to hand dry and drain them to make sure they are as dry as possible before going into storage. When putting food in the freezer you need to use a freezer safe and airtight container to prevent freezer burn and other types of cold damage.
How to Thaw Brussel Sprouts?
To thaw Brussel sprouts out all you need to do is leave them on the counter for 5-10 minutes so that they can defrost.
If you find any yellow, dry, or withered sprouts in the container this is likely from freezer burn causing the sprouts to go bad, so these sprouts should be thrown out.
Frequently Asked Questions About Brussel Sprouts’ Shelf Life
There are a lot of factors you need to consider when storing Brussel sprouts, like how long you want to keep them and where you have to store them. Because of this, there are many other common questions about how to serve and store Brussel sprouts, two of which are answered below.
Can you store cooked Brussel sprouts? Yes, you can store cooked Brussel sprouts in the same way you store fresh Brussel sprouts, but the shelf life is different for cooked sprouts. In the refrigerator, cooked sprouts only last for four days at most, but they can last up to a year in the freezer if you get them frozen fast enough.
Can you eat uncooked Brussel sprouts? You can technically eat raw Brussel sprouts but this is not a good idea since the sprouts contain sulfur that is destroyed through cooking. Eating raw Brussel sprouts can cause bloating and gastrointestinal pain since sulfur creates gas in the body, so it is always better to cook your sprouts before eating them.
Brussel sprouts are both healthy and delicious, but they are also delicate and need to be stored carefully to make sure they last. Stored the right way, Brussel sprouts can survive from four days to a full year.