Crunchy on the outside and creamy bitter goodness on the inside, brussels sprouts can be eaten raw or cooked. It also has a slightly sweet, nutty, and even smoky flavor profile once it’s cooked to perfection in olive oil or butter. They can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, or boiled.
Brussels sprouts are great companions to prosciutto, poultry-based dishes such as pan-seared chicken, steaks, salads, coleslaw, and sandwiches. They can also be paired with wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Burgundy) and cheese (blue, cheddar, and parmesan).
When using brussels sprouts in cooking, you might wonder: do brussels sprouts go bad? Yes, they do since they’re organic vegetables and they typically last about 1 to 2 days at room temperature. You can tell they’re bad if you look for spoilage signs.
How To Tell If Brussels Sprouts Are Bad
Establishing the spoilage of brussels sprouts also requires looking for the telltale signs, this means if they have the following, chances are they’re bad and you must get rid of them immediately:
- Soft or squishy when touched — the sprout heads should have a firm texture when they’re fresh. If they’re starting to lose some of their hardness, use them right away. However, if they’re already mushy, discard them.
- Brown, blackened or mold on leaves — it’s completely normal for brussels sprouts leaves to have a rough outer leaf texture, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s spoiled. However, if there are brown or black splotches on the leaves, or mold is starting to grow, they’re signs of spoilage.
- Presence of insects — insects such as worms and grasshoppers might damage the foliage or other parts of the brussels sprout plants which would make it unfit for human consumption. It’s a difficult task to spot them so make sure you wash the heads while checking.
- Pungent smell — the smell is akin to old cabbage but it’s generally awful so you won’t have a hard time distinguishing.
How Long Do Brussels Sprouts Last
If you store brussels sprouts at room temperature (i.e., leaving them in the pantry), they will have a shelf life of 1 to 2 days and can stretch up to 3 days maximum if they still don’t go bad.
Refer to the table below for the exact time period for each storage type:
|Storage Conditions||Shelf Life|
|Pantry / Room Temperature||1 to 2 days|
|On the stalk||7 to 10 days|
|Refrigerator||5 to 10 days|
How To Safely Store Brussels Sprouts
Available in two varieties, brussels sprouts may either be attached to their stem or that are detached from the stem. Taking brussels sprouts off of their stems is a more common option since the stems need to be removed prior to cooking. If your brussels sprouts are still attached to a stalk, remove them.
When you want to store them at room temperature, simply place them inside an air-tight container and place it in your kitchen pantry. However, it is highly recommended to store it in the fridge or freezer if you want a longer shelf life.
The following sections are guides in safely storing brussels sprouts:
In The Refrigerator
- Remove any excess liquid from the brussels sprouts by patting using a towel or draining. Don’t wash them unless you plan to use it right away.
- Discard any damaged leaves that look yellow or brown.
- Place the brussels sprouts in a sealed, air-tight container.
- Store it inside the crisper drawer section of your refrigerator. If you don’t have that, simply store in a Tupperware and place it with other vegetables but make sure there’s enough space.
In The Freezer
- Prepare your brussels sprouts by trimming any damaged or overly coarse leaves. Check for insects and signs of spoilage, yes, even when they’re freshly bought.
- Wash the brussels sprouts in cold water then boil water on a large pot and blanch the vegetables in them for 4 minutes. Afterwards, remove and place into a bowl of ice cold water and let it sit for 4 minutes.
- Dry the brussels sprouts by patting with paper towels for 15 to 20 minutes until any liquid has completely evaporated then put them on a baking sheet.
- Place the Brussel sprouts inside an airtight container or resealable bags and put them in the freezer overnight. Don’t forget to label your containers!