If you’ve got either some raw green sprouts or some cooked ones knocking around in your fridge, you might be eyeing them uncertainly and wondering how long they can stay there. How long do Brussels sprouts last and when should you use them up by?
How long do Brussels sprouts last in the fridge? Brussels sprouts that haven’t been cooked should last for one or two weeks in the fridge, or even longer if they are still attached to their stalk. If they have been cooked, they should last for around three or four days if they are refrigerated promptly after cooking.
How Should You Store Raw Brussels Sprouts?
You can store raw Brussels sprouts on the counter, but they will only keep for a few days before they become wrinkly and unpleasant. It is better to put them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator as soon as you have bought them. If there isn’t space in your fridge, choose a cool, dark cupboard.
Usually, they will last for a couple of weeks, depending on how fresh they were when you bought them. However, you should be aware that the outer leaves will gradually shrivel, so the longer you store them, the more sprout will get wasted when you come to remove these leaves and cook the sprouts.
Sprouts also often have a better flavor if they are used up quickly. If you leave them in the fridge for weeks, you may find that they are still safe to eat, but that their overall taste has deteriorated. As the sugars convert into starches, they will become bitter and unpleasant.
For the best results, try to use sprouts up quickly after purchasing them.
Should You Wash Brussels Sprouts Before Refrigerating Them?
No, don’t wash them first. Adding moisture to the vegetable will make them more likely to rot, because they will stay damp, especially if water gets into their stems or between their leaves. This will encourage them to turn moldy faster.
It is a good idea to remove any outer leaves that are looking particularly tired, however, as these could contaminate the rest of the sprout. A bit of yellowing can be ignored, as the leaf will shield the one inside it from the air and help it to last better, but any browning or mushiness should be removed.
You can either peel the leaf off and compost it or cut that section of the sprout off. However, be aware that trimming the sprouts will expose them to more oxygen, and this isn’t ideal either.
Should You Leave Brussels Sprouts On Their Stalk?
If you have bought sprouts on a stalk, they will keep much better if they are left on it. If the stalk is too large for you to easily place in your fridge, try cutting it in half, rather than removing the sprouts.
A stalk is often annoying to store, so if you are really short on space, you could consider removing the sprouts and storing them separately but recognize that the Brussels sprouts will go bad faster.
How Should You Store Cooked Brussels Sprouts?
Cooked Brussels sprouts must be refrigerated; they cannot be left on your counter. Bacteria will quickly start to spread through them and make them unsafe to eat. Cool sprouts by spreading them out on a tray or plate, and then put them in a sealed container and place them in the fridge.
If the sprouts get left out for more than a couple of hours at room temperature, they may no longer be safe to eat, especially if the room is warm. Put them in the fridge as soon as you can. This will reduce the spread of bacteria and help them to last longer.
Aim to use cooked sprouts up within about three or four days, because once cooked, they will not keep very well.
How Do You Tell If Brussels Sprouts Are Fresh?
When choosing Brussels sprouts, look for bright green ones with tightly furled leaves. They should be firm to the touch, with little or no discoloration, and no torn or badly battered outer leaves. Reject sprouts that are yellow or those with soft spots.
Choosing your sprouts with care will ensure that they last well. The fresher they are when you purchase them, the better they will last in your fridge. If the leaves are loose or discolored, the sprouts are unlikely to last well, because this indicates that moisture has been lost and the vegetable is starting to shrivel.
When you come to cook your sprouts, wash them and inspect the exteriors. Remove any leaves that have turned yellow or brown, and cut off any parts that have gone bad. Black or brown spots can be sliced off with a sharp knife, and ragged leaves can simply be peeled away.
Only cook the tightly furled, bright green parts of the sprouts, as these are fresh and good to eat. If any sprouts have gone mushy, compost them rather than cooking them.
Can You Freeze Brussels Sprouts?
If you aren’t going to use sprouts up quickly, it is possible to freeze them, but it is generally best to blanch them first if you wish to do so. Do this by removing any yellow leaves, lightly boiling the sprouts, and then plunging them into icy water.
This cooks the sprouts lightly and makes them freeze better. When you are ready to eat them, you can simply take them out of the freezer, boil or steam them until they are hot and tender, and then eat them.
While in the freezer, Brussels sprouts should be stored in an airtight container. They should last for up to twelve months in the freezer but may have a better taste and texture if they are eaten more quickly.
On the stalk, raw Brussels sprouts can last for up to three weeks in the fridge, while picked ones may last for up to two, especially if you have chosen very fresh ones. Once cooked, however, they should be used within a few days, and not stored at room temperature.