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Can You Reheat Broccoli ? How Long Does It Last ?

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Broccoli, it’s become one of the staples of healthy eating, and for good reason. But it’s also notoriously hard to get right, in terms of texture. For some people it may be a good idea to cook their healthy meals in large batches, and portion them for later in the week (meal prep). And if your meal prep includes cooked broccoli, then you’re going to want to know how to reheat it so it doesn’t turn to mush. Here’s what you need to know. 

Can you reheat broccoli ?

Yes, you can reheat broccoli but it will lose some of its texture, and become softer. To offset this, if you know you’re cooking a big batch, shorten your original cooking time by half. This way when you reheat the broccoli it will retain more texture. The two best ways to reheat cooked broccoli is by microwaving or heating in an oven (or air fryer, same principle). We’ll explore both methods shortly, but right now let’s find out if broccoli is good left over in the first place. 

Is broccoli good leftover ?

Broccoli is fine leftover, as in it will not hurt you and it will retain most of its original flavor until the next day. It has the downside of smelling very strongly and possibly making your fridge smell like that, if it’s not in an airtight container. But overall there isn’t anything inherently wrong with leftover broccoli. 

Read also: Can You Reheat Spinach ? 

Can you reheat broccoli twice ?

We don’t recommend reheating broccoli twice, for a few reasons. First, reheating the same broccoli more than once damages the texture further and you end up with a creamy, soupy mess that’s better suited to a risotto or cream soup than as a aside dish. Second, you’re exposing the broccoli to high heat then letting it cool several times, which gives bacteria the time and place to breed. 

Do your best to separate the batch of broccoli into single-serve portions, so you only have to reheat each portion once. 

Read also: Do You Need To Peel Carrots ?

How to reheat broccoli

Alright, now let’s talk about how you should go about reheating those broccoli florets. The key to good broccoli, aside form a nice color and flavor, is a good texture. Cooked broccoli should be soft as in edible, but still have a mild bite to them. Kind of like carrots. So if you know you’re making a big batch of broccoli to bring to lunch for a few days, make sure to cook your broccoli a few minutes short. This way it will be a bit tough but it will soften just the right amount as you reheat it at work. 

Microwave it on medium

Microwaving is the easiest, most convenient, and also most common method of reheating just about anything. And if this is your work lunch, you’re likely only going to get a microwave in the lunch room. Broccoli cooked only halfway through will soften just right in the microwave. Always make sure the container your broccoli is in is airtight and/or has the lid one. Here’s why: your broccoli will dry up and possibly burn at the edges if you let it dehydrate like that while it heats up, and second not everyone wants to smell reheated broccoli. 

Don’t go higher than medium heat, otherwise you’ll get uneven heating and again, might burn the broccoli. 

Put broccoli in the oven for a few minutes

Oven-heated cooked broccoli will dry out, so if you want to avoid that you can out a oven-safe plate over your bowl to trap in the moisture. Or, you can add a bit of tin foil on the top to do the same thing. Electric ovens dry out the food less than a gas oven. And, if you want to dry out your broccoli a little just don’t cover it. Keep in mind this method is slower than microwaving, so have some patience in the 10-15 minutes it takes to heat the broccoli. 

This same method also works with an air fryer, just don’t add the oil. 

Read also: Why Is Broccoli So Expensive ? 

How long does cooked broccoli last in the fridge ?

Cooked broccoli is good in the fridge for 48-72 hours after it’s begun to cool off. As long as your store it in an airtight container you should be fine, and the broccoli should be fine the next day. When storing cooked broccoli – or any veggies – try not to store it alongside any cooked meat, unless they were cooked together (like a stew or soup).

If your broccoli goes past the 48h mark, it may still be edible, but the flavor will have changed by then and you might detect the change. So we recommend you try not to cook large batches of broccoli that won’t be eaten in 48 hours, even if it’s still edible.

If you want to incorporate a bit of broccoli into your everyday life, but can’t cook every 2-3 days, consider this option. Get fresh broccoli, and add it to your meal, the sort of meal that has a medium amount of moisture – like a stew or something with a sauce. When you heat up your cooked meal+chopped fresh broccoli in the microwave, the broccoli should get steamed and cooked through as you microwave the entire meal. If you meal doesn’t have a sauce just add a tablespoon of water to the broccoli compartment before microwaving.

Can you eat cooked broccoli cold ?

Yes, you can eat cold cooked broccoli. The fibers have been broken down and the vegetable is cooked through, it’s just a matter of temperature, and personal preference. If you prefer you cooked broccoli cold, or are just fine with it cold, you can safely eat it cold. One of the best ways to eat cold cooked broccoli is to add it to a salad, as long as the florets aren’t too moist.

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