Brussel sprouts are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. Their bitter flavor is almost guaranteed to drive away both kids and adults, only achieving the loyalty of the most advanced bodybuilders and fitness gurus. Brussel sprouts are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins C and K, antioxidants, and potassium, among other nutrients. Moreover, there are so many recipes to make them palatable that you may feel safe stacking a good amount of them for the long term. However, these questions came to your mind. When do brussel sprouts go bad? Can you freeze raw brussel sprouts? How long do brussel sprouts last in the fridge?
Yes, you can freeze brussel sprouts raw or fresh! You only need to follow certain procedures in order for them to freeze well. Be mindful that raw vegetables are very susceptible to lose their quality while in the freezer, so you need to do specific actions to prevent or delay this process.
To freeze the brussel sprouts well, you will need to clean them first, as they are very hospitable to tiny insects. To do that, remove the outer leaves and soak the heads in water to remove lingering insects and particles.
Then, it’s recommended to blanch them. Blanching deactivates the enzymes that cause loss of texture, color, and flavor in raw vegetables. To blanch, you must toss the sprouts in boiling water for a few minutes and then place them in cold water almost immediately after.
Then, you should drain the sprouts and pat them dry using a paper towel. After making sure that they are completely rid of moisture, throw them in an airtight Ziploc or freezer bag – making sure no air is left in or is allowed to get in – and stow the bag in the freezer.
It’s possible to do freeze brussel sprouts without blanching if you are out of time. However, in that case, you should consume the sprouts within 2 weeks after freezing, since beyond that time they start to degrade in quality.
Raw vegetables are always impacted by freezing, especially green vegetables. The reason is that they contain a relatively high water content when compared to other food types. Frozen water develops ice crystals that destroy the cell structure of these vegetables, producing a change in their overall texture.
On the other hand, blanched brussel sprouts tend to suffer less quality loss than unblanched sprouts, but they can absorb water in the blanching process, which is why it’s very important to make sure that they’re rid of excess moisture before storing them in the freezer.
It’s not recommended to refreeze brussel sprouts once thawed, as the sprouts are prone to aggressive bacterial growth at temperatures above 40º F. Also, they get mushier with each freezing and thawing.
In the refrigerator, Brussel sprouts can last up to 5 days at a temperature of 40º F or below.
In the freezer, brussel sprouts can remain edible for up to twelve months at 0º F or lower. They can’t rot while in the freezer since at those temperatures the bacterial activity is inhibited. Nevertheless, they can lose considerable quality after that period.
If you need to thaw brussel sprouts for some reason, the safest way to do it is by placing them in the fridge and letting them sit there overnight. You can also thaw them by submerging the pack in cold water and replacing it every 30 minutes (it’s faster but requires more attention). The microwave offers the quickest method, but you should watch out for overheating!
If you’re not careful, Brussel sprouts can easily cause foodborne illness. For that reason, they should not be thawed at room temperature or have them sit at that temperature for more than 2 hours before cooking.
You’ll be relieved to know that, in most cases, it’s not absolutely necessary to thaw frozen brussel sprouts before cooking. You just have to withdraw from the freezer, unpack them and add them to whatever recipe you are making, whether in the air fryer, oven or on stove. You only need to keep in mind that the cooking time might be extended if you decide to use the frozen sprouts. Also, though not related to their preservation by freezing, do not overcook them, as they will develop a very ugly smell!
“Healthy food trends – Brussels sprouts” : https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000725.htm
“Nine Principle for Freezing Vegetables” : https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/IND43894058/PDF