Brussel Sprouts Shelf Life: Do They Go Bad? How To Tell


Brussel sprouts are a classic holiday vegetable that can be enjoyed all year round. 

They are small leafy vegetables that resemble little cabbages. Although they may seem small and unassuming, they are actually part of a group of ‘cruciferous vegetables along with broccoli and cauliflower, all of which are known to protect against cancer.’

Apart from their health benefits, Brussel sprouts are also a uniquely flavored vegetable that goes so well with a classic roast or a Christmas dinner.

If those aren’t reasons to add more delicious Brussel sprouts to your diet, we don’t know what is! Once you have bought yourself some, however, you might find yourself asking:

Do Brussel sprouts go bad? 

The short answer is yes. Like all fresh produce, Brussel sprouts will go bad. 

Unlike many leafy vegetables like cabbages and lettuce, however, it’s hard to know when Brussel sprouts have gone bad. They are so small and dense that they don’t wilt how you might expect a leafy vegetable to wilt.

It’s important to know when your veggies have gone bad because they will start to taste old and sometimes even moldy and slimy. No one wants to eat a slimy brussel sprout!

Today we are here to help you figure out when your Brussel sprouts are off as well as how to keep them fresh as long as possible.

If you love these tiny little cabbage-like vegetables, then you’ve come to the right place!

How Long Do Brussel Sprouts Last?

If left uncooked, well stored raw Brussel sprouts can last 3-5 days in the fridge. In the freezer, they can last anywhere from 6-12 months.

As long as you follow the tips we’ve given you, and you keep an eye on them, they will last until you’re ready to cook them. Just be sure to buy the sprouts close to when you want to cook them.

How to tell if Brussel sprouts are bad?

Before we look and what a brussel sprout looks like when it’s off, let’s look at what a nice fresh one should look like:

  • Vibrant green color
  • Firm to the touch
  • Whole, crisp leaves
  • A fresh, earthy scent

Now let’s compare that to what a bad brussel sprout will be like:

  • Soft and squishy
  • A strong smell of old cabbage
  • Moldy
  • Slimy
  • Discolored leaves
  • Brown/black stem

Brussel sprouts basically make it really easy to tell if they are off. Even opening your fridge might let you know right away because their smell can get so strong.

Hopefully, that makes it really clear for you so you can spot this in your veggies. 

We hate seeing food go to waste, so instead of throwing out the old sprouts, why not start a compost heap and add these to the mix? That way, your garden will benefit, and you’re producing less waste.

So yes, Brussel sprouts do go bad, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you never have to deal with this problem ever again. Let’s take a look.

How To Store Brussels Sprouts

The best way to prevent your Brussel sprouts from going off is to store them in a way that will keep them as fresh as possible. Just follow these few simple steps, and your Brussel sprouts can last up to 5 days in the fridge. (*)

1. Don’t wash your Brussel sprouts before storing them.

Moisture is the enemy of leafy vegetables! Washing them can add extra moisture that will make them rot faster and even go moldy.

2. Remove the original packaging.

This can often hold onto excess moisture, so it’s best to remove the packaging and transfer the Brussel sprouts to a fresh airtight container.

3. Pat dry.

Again, this gets rid of any excess moisture to prevent premature spoiling. Dry Brussel sprouts in a dry container are a surefire way to keep them fresh for longer.

4. Store in the crisper.

This part of your fridge is specially designed to keep vegetables fresh as long as possible by reducing moisture in the air and keeping them really cold. Take full advantage of this draw for your veggies, and it will change your cooking game.

5. Buy in season.

The best way to keep your veggies fresh longer is to buy local, seasonal ones because they haven’t needed to travel long distances. Brussel sprouts are a winter vegetable, so they will be at their best during this time.

6. Remove any discolored leaves.

Doing this when you remove the Brussel sprouts from the packaging can prevent the bad leaves from affecting the whole head.

And that’s it, just six simple things to keep in mind to keep your Brussel sprouts nice and fresh.

The Best Way to Freeze Brussel Sprouts

Unfortunately, when you buy Brussel sprouts from the shops, they come in a seat package size that you might not be able to get through before they go bad. But don’t worry! We have a solution!

Freezing Brussel sprouts is the best way to make sure that no food is going to waste while stocking up your freezer at the same time. It’s a win-win situation! (*)

You will need to blanch them before freezing, but that process is simple. Here is a little how-to:

  1. Sort the Brussel sprouts into small, medium, and large so that they can be cooked together. This will ensure that they are all evenly cooked through.
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the small sprouts for 3 minutes, medium for 4 minutes, and large for 5 minutes in small batches.
  1. Drain them well in a colander. Allow them to cool before placing into the Brussel sprouts into Ziploc bags and popping them in the freezer.

Now you will always be stocked up on this tasty vegetable for months, and none of it will end up in the bin again.

What is the healthiest way to cook Brussel sprouts?

Luckily, because of their distinct flavor, it doesn’t take a lot to cook a brussel sprout to perfection while keeping it healthy. 

Boiled Brussel sprouts can be a bit boring and offputting, so this is how we like to do it:

  1. Cut the Brussel sprouts in half and place them in a baking dish. 
  2. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle over a tablespoon or two of coconut or olive oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Roast at 180C/350F until the Brussel sprouts are soft and caramelized, turning once to prevent burning.

You can also add spices like paprika or cayenne pepper to add a spicy kick and a little honey for some natural sweetness.

Learn more: What Do Brussel Sprouts Taste Like? (The Truth Bitterness!)



So what have we learned here today?

  • Brussel sprouts do go bad.
  • A bad brussel sprout will be soft and smell bad.
  • They last 3-5 days in the fridge if stored correctly.

Keep these three facts in your mind, and you’ll never have to deal with throwing away old Brussel sprouts again!

Brussel sprouts are a very unique vegetable that we feel is highly underrated. We hope this little run down of these little green spheres encourages you to go and pick up some for yourself the next time you’re at the shops.

Up Next: The Best Shelf life of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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