You probably hated brussels sprouts as a child. But now, as a grown-up, you decided to give them another chance. That’s why you’ve bought a bunch on the farmer’s market.
Having zero experience with these veggies, you need a quick primer. After all, you don’t want your brussels sprouts to go bad.
And that’s why you need to learn how to store them, how long can you keep them in storage, and how to tell good brussels sprouts from bad ones.
If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in.
How To Store Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts come in two forms: attached to the stem, and off the stem. The second option is far more popular and you need the sprouts off the stalk before cooking them anyway.
If you’ve bought a stalk with the brussels sprouts attached to it, remove them from the stem and discard it (PU).
It might be tempting to wash or remove the outer leaves once you get home, but you should leave that until you’re ready to use the brussels sprouts (MSU, PU).
When it comes to storage, put the brussels sprouts in the fridge. Use a ventilated plastic bag (PU, MSU), or a storage container that allows some airflow.
For bonus points, put a damp towel in the bag or container, so those little heads of cabbage won’t dry out as quickly.
You can, of course, keep them on the counter or in the pantry, but they will deteriorate within a couple of days. Keep them at room temperature only if you’re going to use them the same day you’ve bought them, or the day after.
If you need to keep the brussels sprouts for a prolonged period, freezing is the way to go.
How To Freeze Brussels Sprouts
You’ve probably seen frozen brussels sprouts in the supermarket’s freezers, so you know freezing them is an option. It takes a bit of time, but it’s much better than discarding them.
Here’s how the process goes (NCFHFP, MSU):
- Prep. Trim, get rid of the coarse outer leaves, and make sure there are no insects. Then wash the heads thoroughly, and sort them into small, medium, and large ones.
- Blanch the veggies. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and plunge the heads into that water. Small heads require 3 minutes, medium ones 4 minutes, and large ones 5 minutes. After cooking for that period, transfer the veggies into a pot of cold water, possibly with some ice cubes, to stop the cooking process. If you’re doing a large batch, change the water when it’s not that cold anymore.
- Drain the heads. Leave them on a kitchen towel for 15-20 minutes and remove any water drops from the tops. You want the brussels sprouts to be dry before proceeding.
- Portion and package. Transfer the prepped veggies into freezer bags or airtight containers. Label each one if you like.
- Put everything into the freezer.
When it comes to thawing, either do it overnight in the fridge or throw the frozen tiny cabbage heads directly into the dish you’re cooking on the stove. The latter, of course, works only for some recipes.
How Long Do Brussels Sprouts Last
Brussels sprouts last a day or two when stored at room temperature.
If you follow the outlined storage guidelines, they can last about a week in the fridge (MSU, PU), maybe a couple of days more if you’re lucky.
|Brussel sprouts||1 – 2 days||7 – 10 days|
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad?
For starters, a brussels sprout having some coarse outer leaves is perfectly normal, just like it is with cabbage or lettuce. Just remove them when you’re prepping the veggies.
The same thing goes for outermost leaves that have brown edges, or black spots.
Signs of spoiled brussels sprouts include:
- Insects between the leaves. Spotting them might be difficult. That’s why it’s essential to wash the heads thoroughly before cooking.
- Harsh smell. If a brussels sprout smells like old cabbage, and you don’t have to get near it to experience that, it’s done for.
- Squishy or soft texture. Fresh heads are firm to the touch. If yours start to lose that firmness, it’s now or never when it comes to using them. If they are soft or feel squishy already, discard them.
- Mold or black spots. I think it goes without saying that you should get rid of moldy brussels sprouts.
Brussels Sprouts Storage and Shelf Life Summary
Thank you for reading this guide, I hope you found it informative and useful. Let’s recap the most important topics that we covered:
- How long do brussels sprouts last? Brussels sprouts last 1 to 2 days on the counter and about a week up to 10 days in the fridge. If yours are quite old and the outermost leaves are coarse, you can remove them and use the rest.
- How to tell if brussels sprouts are bad? Brussels sprouts are spoiled if they are soft to the touch or squishy, smell like old cabbage, or they start to rot or go moldy. In other words, look for the same spoilage signs you look for in other vegetables.