How to Store Broccoli

broccoli storage

Theodoros Kakaletris

International consultant at Business Coaching Lab (specialized in fruit and vegetable cool storage)

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How to Store Broccoli for longer and Preserve its Quality?

Broccoli is a biennial, cruciferous vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family. Other famous members of this family are cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. The scientific name of the broccoli is Brassica oleracea var. italica. Years ago, broccoli was a pure winter vegetable, but modern broccoli hybrids now enable the cultivation of the crop throughout the year in some areas.

The largest producing countries are China, India, France and Spain. 

Broccoli has a green or purple flower head. The weight of the broccoli can vary from 0,35 kg (which is considered relatively small) to over 0,5 kg (relatively large head) (0.8-1.1 lb). The desired weight of the heads is determined mainly by the market-consummers. 

Storing conditions for cut broccoli

In order to preserve the broccoli properly and to protect its quality characteristics after harvest, it needs special and often careful handling. 

It must be pre-cooled (1) immediately after harvest in high-capacity pre-coolers. This practice prolongs the product’s shelf life since it removes its high temperature (from the field), which is a negative factor in the product’s longevity after harvest. Maintaining the cooling conditions during all stages of storage and transport of the product is essential. Always place the cut broccoli in dynamic cooling-chambers/rooms (3) to be uniformly preserved without loss. The ideal conditions for preserving broccoli are -0 2-1 °C (31,6-34 °F) and 90-95 % relative humidity. Under such conditions, cut broccoli can be preserved for up to 28 days. Conversely, when the temperature reaches 5°C (41°F), the shelf life of the product drops to 14 days, and when it is 10°C (50°F), the product cannot be preserved for more than 5 days.

In addition, it is recommended to keep several leaves on the broccoli head during storage. Ideally, remove ethylene and manage carbon dioxide. Do not store broccoli with products that release ethylene. Ethylene accelerates the yellowing of the broccoli head; 2 ppm of ethylene at 10 °C (50°F) halves the life of the plants. In some cases, ozone can be added, which breaks down ethylene and destroys fungal spores. Finally, carbon dioxide at 50,000 – 100,000 ppm concentrations helps maintain quality and storage time. At the same time, low oxygen concentration reduces respiration rate, lengthens storage time and preserves broccoli’s green colour and tenderness.

During storage, it is recommended to pack the flower heads in perforated/semi-permeable films to reduce water loss. Furthermore, using crushed ice in broccoli packaging during commercial shipment has proven to be effective.


1)Pre-cooling is the rapid process of removing heat from products (usually right after harvest). This heat has been generated a) by the changing respiration of the plant and b) by the ambient temperature during harvesting and storage.

2) Special structures that rapidly remove the temperature of the product we wish to preserve.

3)Dynamic cooling is a necessary technique for products with long preservation or for particularly sensitive products, e.g. pears, kiwis, apples, plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, etc. It is based on continuous multi-point control of stored products and refrigeration mechanisms.


Book: “Vegetables Long-Term Preservation: The Secrets”. («Λαχανικά Μακροχρόνια Συντήρηση: Τα Μυστικά».)


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