Thinking of trying out Brussel sprouts and finally beginning the fitness journey? Well, you need to get a whole idea about its types, different characteristics and most importantly, how to tell if Brussel sprouts are bad!

Brussels sprouts are one of the most effective cold-weather superfoods. It is packed with immunity-boosting vitamin C and cancer-fighting glycosylates. However, determining its shelf life can be a little tricky.

Hence, we are here to help you through this complete guide!

So, let’s get started.

How Long Do Brussel Sprouts Last: Types And Expiry

How long do fresh Brussel sprouts last sprouts totally depends upon various factors like:

  • type of sprouts you have,
  • how and when they were picked and how
  • they are stored.
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad

Besides, Brussels come in several hues and sizes, and each kind has its unique expiry method. Here are all the types of Brussel sprouts one can get including how long they last and how to identify when it’s gone bad.

1. Regarding

Regarding is a vivid red-purple colour, Brussel. It has a sweet flavour with its nutritional value. It is full of vitamin c and folic acid. They stay fresh for up to 3 weeks as long as they are in the refrigerator.  

However, this variety is very susceptible to insects and there are cases when it gets worse even after being taken care of. If you see large ragged holes in leaves, defoliation, stunted or bored heads, excrement indicates its extinction.

2. Capitola

Capitola is a small yet high yielding variety of Brussel sprouts.  Although this plant gets adapted to all regions And has high resistance to disease, sometimes it can catch Fusarium yellows.

Under this, interveinal chlorosis and wilting of older leaves of plants occur. There are no external root symptoms. This means it’s officially bad.

3. Confidant

This one is the sprout that matures the earliest. Its tight stem gives it the perfect round shape and a dark green colour.  This variety can prove great in protecting itself from the frost. However, it will go bad once you start to see yellowish patches on it.

With that being mentioned, Brussel sprout’s yellow inside means the variety is all squishy, witty and has lost the spark of being fresh.

4. Cryptus

Cryptus is a newly discovered variety.  But, it has eventually become famous because of its mild flavour. It’s of medium size, a step ahead of the above three Brussel sprouts.

However, its shelf life ranges only for 2 weeks as it catches the clubroot, a smear for the cabbage family! You can identify it going bad after that period with its swollen roots, irregular club shapes, some patches turning black and leaves discolouring to yellow.

5. Gigantus

Gigantus is known for its sturdiness and excellent quality uniform. Requiring low nitrogen inputs, it’s the ideal sprout to grow in your yards.

In matters of going bad, it remains pretty good as long as it’s in a cool place and doesn’t have any number assigned to it. However, you can easily tell when it goes bad by seeing the tiny worm eggs on the leaf underside and its distorted pods.

How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad

6. Martinus

Martinus is one of the large sprouts, with the striking medium green colour and the perfect cylindrical setting giving it an elliptic shape. All this good plant vigour comes after its late maturity.

So how to tell if Brussel sprouts are bad in the case of Martinus?

 The answer is when you start to see gradual bolting in the plant, approximately after a week or two. A sturdy stalk, studded with only a few leaves, emerges through the plant’s foliage in this condition and you sense a very bitter taste out of the remaining sprout.

7. Gladius

With a bright green colour and inner sprouts being blue-green, gladius is a wonderful sprout to have. It has an amazing shelf life of 3 weeks and in some cases, goes fine for 4 weeks.

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However, you may have to discard it early if it goes bad by developing black or brown spots on it. Black spots on Brussel sprouts indicate signs of moulding and fungus on the crop, making it extremely toxic for intake.

8. Gustus

Gustus is also one of the new varieties which matures early and has firm buttons, smooth texture and no cole-ish aftertaste.

Here’s how you can identify gustus going bad: Yellowish spots on upper leaf surfaces that appear turning into brown, a cotton growth of purple and white on undersides along with distorted corn tassels will give a pretty good idea.

Henceforth, you can have Brussel sprouts before it goes bad for about 2 or maximum 3 weeks depending upon which variety you get.

One way to avoid all this mess is to learn in advance the proper ways to store your sprouts and to consume it in the correct way! Let’s see how!

Best Ways Of Storing Brussel Sprouts

As we all know, Brussel sprouts are one heck of a healthy side dish and preserving and storing them rightly ensures they stay healthy, fresh in quality for you and increases their shelf life too!

There are many ways of storing Brussel sprouts to lessen the opportunity of them going bad :

How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad

1. Changing The Container

Bringing the Brussel sprouts from the market that comes in the plastic wrapping or box should immediately be transferred to another container as plastic carries moisture and it would create chances for moulding. Hence, secure your sprouts in an airtight container.

2. Blanching

Freezing is the ultimate solution if you want your Brussel sprouts to remain healthy for months. This requires you to perform the following steps:

  • Wash the sprouts with cold water.
  • Boil and blanch the sprouts for about 4 minutes.
  • Now, put this in a bowl of ice.
  • Dry thoroughly before spreading out on a baking sheet and freezing overnight.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container the following day.

However, you can get rid of all this trouble by purchasing the Costco frozen Brussel sprouts with bacon flavour! All you need to do is keep the packet in the freezer and cook it ready whenever you want!

3. Refrigerating Them

People often ask, do Brussel sprouts need to be refrigerated? That’s a definite yes. It prevents early yellowing and being all soft and squishy.

But that too has a limit. If you are wondering how long do Brussel sprouts last in the fridge, well they can stay intact for around a week packed in an airtight container.

However, in the case of cooked sprouts, it differs as you have already used the sprout and mixed them with other spices and oil. So, how long do cooked Brussel sprouts last in the fridge? Only for 4 days! Hence, if you cook it, consume it quickly.

4. No Washing

Avoid washing your Brussels until you are ready to eat them as washing them before will expose them to moisture.

5. Removing The Leaves

Keep on regularly removing all the leaves that appear to rot or yellowing. The cabbage leaves when they start to wilt can become moist affecting the rest of the vegetable too.

Thus, now you know how to maximise the shelf life of this vegetable and keep them fresh for a long time to enjoy your brussels sprouts, either sautéed, or roasted.

However, despite taking appropriate care, there might be a case where you eat an expired one! So, how to proceed then?

What To Do If You Eat Expired Brussel Sprout

Even after knowing how to tell if Brussel sprouts are bad, people tend to intake old Brussel sprouts. This makes everyone panic. However, there is no need to create a fuss.

 Here are some small steps you can do:

  • Eat only liquid food for the next day.
  • If you feel signs of food poisoning, visit the doctor immediately.
  • Eat something sweet right after to make your mouth less sour and prevent any nauseous feeling.
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad
How To Tell If Brussel Sprouts Are Bad

Eating expired Brussel sprouts wouldn’t kill you. It would just lose the fresh taste, colour and smell. In very rare cases only something serious can happen, but as it’s said, prevention is always better than cure!

So, now equip yourself to know how to tell if Brussel sprouts are bad and prevent any such incident!


1. Is It OK To Eat Old Brussel Sprouts?

If the old Brussel sprouts have mild signs of going bad, you can eat it by removing the layers which have turned yellow. However, it should be thrown away on high signs like fungus or worms.

2. What Does The Inside Of A Bad Brussel Sprout Look Like?

From the inside, the bad sprout might have a lot of cracks and pits and yellow, brown or black spots too.

3. Are Brussel Sprouts Supposed To Smell?

Yes, Brussel sprouts have a very strange smell. It’s mostly the carbohydrate raffinose and sulphur found in its composition.

4. What Happens If You Eat Bad Brussel Sprouts?

Not much will happen if you eat bad Brussel sprouts that have turned only yellow. You might have a weird feeling but there would be no health risk. But if you have a really sensitive immune system, you might want to avoid eating them.

Final Words

To conclude, Brussel sprouts are an amazing side dish to have! They come in a lot of varieties and go bad in a lot of different ways! However, some common identification signs include leaves yellowing and the occurrence of black and brown spots on the vegetable.

If kept in a refrigerator, you can store the Brussel sprouts for around 2 weeks and by blanching and freezing, for around 7 to 8 months! There are many other ways listed for you to keep them fresh for a long time and enjoy them in future!

Read More: Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?


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