Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Broccoli (HNI12)


October 23, 2014 - Author: Linda Huyck

Purchase item on Shop.msu.edu


Recommended varieties

Cruiser, Green Comet, Green Goliath

Storage and food safety

  • Store broccoli in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with holes.

  • Use broccoli within three days. The longer you store it, the lower the vitamin content.

  • Choose broccoli with dark green florets. If the florets are enlarged, opened, yellowish-green or wilted, the broccoli is not fresh.

  • Avoid broccoli with thick, tough stems.

  • Do not purchase broccoli that is soft or slippery — this is a sign of spoilage.

  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Wash broccoli using cool running water. Do not use soap.

  • For best quality and to preserve nutrients, preserve no more than your family can consume in one year.


1 pound of broccoli

= about 6 cups of raw, trimmed florets and stems

1 pound

= about 4 to 6 servings (1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked)

2 to 3 pounds of fresh broccoli

= 2 pints frozen broccoli

How to Preserve


Broccoli usually discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned. For this reason, canning is not recommended.


Select firm, young, tender stalks with compact heads. Remove leaves and woody portions. Prepare a brine by adding 4 teaspoons of salt to 1 gallon of water. Immerse broccoli in the brine for 30 minutes to remove insects. Split lengthwise so florets are no more than 1½ inches across. Rinse and drain. Blanch 3 minutes in boiling water or 5 minutes in steam. Cool promptly in ice water, drain and pat dry. Pack into airtight freezer containers, leaving no head space. Seal, label, date and freeze. Use frozen broccoli within 8 to 12 months for best quality.


Michigan State University Extension Food Preservation Series — Broccoli. 2006. Bulletin W01047. MSU Extension.

Watch Your Garden Grow. 2012. University of Illinois Extension. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/

Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.

More information


Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at anrcommunications@anr.msu.edu.