Brussel sprouts are delicious, but people often overlook them. These vegetables are only in season during the fall and winter months. That means finding fresh Brussel sprouts during other times of the year can be difficult. So when you have them you may want to find a way to keep them for longer. Can you freeze Brussel sprouts?
You can freeze Brussel sprouts for up to a year if frozen properly. However, the amount of time you can keep Brussel sprouts in the freezer before they start going bad may vary. How ripe your Brussel sprouts are when they’re frozen and whether you freeze them raw or cooked will affect this process.
In this article, I’ll explain how and why you might freeze Brussel sprouts in detail. I’ll also list a few other storage options for this type of vegetable. Keep reading.
Why Should I Freeze Brussel Sprouts?
Storing fresh produce in the freezer might seem a little strange to some people. But you can do it even with Brussel sprouts.
You should freeze Brussel sprouts if you expect the following:
- You want Brussel sprouts available when they’re not in season.
- You want to meal prep cooked Brussel sprout dishes.
- You want to use them for future cooking.
- You can’t eat all your Brussel sprouts before they go bad.
If you know that you won’t be able to finish your Brussel sprouts on time, you’ll need to freeze them quickly before they go bad.
Can You Freeze Raw Brussel Sprouts?
Usually, when people talk about freezing food, especially food that wasn’t already frozen, to begin with, they’re talking about freezing cooked food.
However, just because freezing raw food, including produce, is less common doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
You can freeze raw Brussel sprouts. Freezing raw Brussel sprouts can help them stay good for longer, meaning you can enjoy them even when they’re not in season. Doing so also allows you to keep the Brussel sprouts you already have from going bad.
How Do You Freeze Raw Brussel Sprouts?
Unfortunately, while freezing Brussel sprouts is a great way to keep them tasting fresh longer, doing so isn’t as simple as just putting your raw sprouts in the freezer and leaving them alone until you’re ready for them.
You can freeze raw Brussel sprouts by blanching them first. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing all the nutrients they’re full of. After blanching, you can store the vegetables in an airtight container before putting the container in the freezer.
How To Blanch Brussel Sprouts
You can blanch Brussel sprouts by steaming or boiling them quickly before submerging them in cold water again. While that might seem like you’re cooking your vegetables, that’s actually not the case. Blanching happens quickly, so the vegetables don’t have enough time to break down.
That said, your Brussell sprouts will stay mostly raw even after blanching.
Follow the steps below to blanch Brussel sprouts and then freeze them:
- Clean the Brussel sprouts thoroughly.
- Cut off the end of the Brussel sprouts.
- Place the Brussel sprouts in boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on their size. Or, place them in a covered container above boiling water so they can steam.
- Rinse with cold water for a few moments to stop them from cooking.
- Let your Brussel sprouts dry completely.
- Put the sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so they are not touching each other and put them in the freezer for two to three hours.
- Once, completely frozen, place the Brussel sprouts in an airtight container or sealed bag. Then, transfer the container to the freezer.
Following this process, you can keep the vegetables for up to a year in the freezer.
While blanching first is the most common way to freeze Brussel sprouts, if you’re freezing vegetables that seem like they might be close to going bad, they might not last as long.
If you think you can eat your frozen sprouts within a few weeks, you can likely freeze them as they are. Simply clean them first before putting them in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Cooked Brussel Sprouts?
You can freeze cooked Brussel sprouts. While cooked Brussel sprouts won’t last as long as raw Brussel sprouts in the freezer, it’s still a good idea to keep them there as the freezer will extend their shelf-life until you’re ready to eat them.
You can freeze Brussel sprouts any way you decide to prepare them. However, the less involved your pre-freezing cooking is, the easier it will maintain its original taste and texture. It will also be easier to determine if your vegetables are still good before eating them.
In that case, simply roasting your Brussel sprouts before putting them in the freezer is the most fool-proof way to freeze cooked sprouts.
However, you’ve chosen to cook your Brussel sprouts, when it comes time to freeze them, follow these steps:
- Allow your cooked Brussel sprouts to fully cool.
- Once cooled, place the Brussel sprouts in a freezer-safe container or plastic freezer bag.
- If using a bag, squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as possible before sealing.
- Date the container and put it in the freezer.
When freezing cooked Brussel sprouts you can expect them to safely last from three to six months in the freezer.
How To Know if Your Frozen Brussel Sprouts Have Gone Bad
While freezing can extend how long food is good for, it doesn’t stop the process food items go through that leads to them going bad; it merely slows it.
It’s essential to know how to recognize if your food has spoiled while it’s been in the freezer before you eat it.
Frozen food tends to lack much smell.
However, if you’ve defrosted something and notice a strange odor, particularly one that is different than what you remember when you first froze your Brussel sprouts, that’s a sign they’ve gone bad.
If you notice any discoloration in your sprouts or whatever cooked brussel sprout meal you’ve frozen, that is another typical sign that it’s been in the freezer too long. In that case, it’s no longer safe to eat.
And if frozen raw sprouts seem wilted or have a slimy texture once they’ve defrosted, they’ve likely started to rot and should be thrown out.
Lastly, if you notice any strange textures, a build-up of ice on your sprouts, or mold growing near your food, your food has likely started to rot or has been partially thawed and refrozen and should be thrown out.
Are There Other Ways To Store Brussel Sprouts?
While freezing your Brussel sprouts is the best way to keep them from going bad long-term, that’s not the only option available to store them.
There are other ways to store Brussel sprouts, such as refrigerating, drying, or pickling them. You can also keep them at room temperature for a short time.
Refrigeration Helps Your Brussel Sprouts To Last for a Week
Refrigerating your Brussel sprouts should get them to last for about a week, provided that they were fresh when you purchased them and are stored correctly.
Just make sure your Brussel sprouts are kept dry. Moisture will accelerate the rotting process and make them go bad sooner.
Keeping your Brussel sprouts in a covered or sealed container to reduce their exposure to air will also allow them to stay fresh longer while they’re in the fridge.
Pickling Can Change the Taste of Your Brussel Sprouts
Pickling Brussel sprouts is one of the least common ways to store them.
However, it does allow you to preserve this type of vegetable for a very long time.
Pickling is the process of preserving your food in a vinegar mixture; it’s the way cucumbers get turned into pickles.
While this method will make your sprouts last much longer than they would if you just left them in the fridge or at room temperature, it does change their taste and texture.
If you love Brussel sprouts for either of these reasons, then this likely isn’t the storing method for you.
You Can Store Brussel Sprouts for Up to Two Months by Drying Them
Drying is one of the final ways you can preserve Brussel sprouts for a longer period. This is the process of dehydrating your sprouts.
Since the water contained in produce is a primary cause of rot, removing all the moisture from Brussel sprouts slows that process significantly.
Dried Brussel sprouts can be kept for two months if they aren’t subjected to extreme temperature or humidity changes.
However, this method also changes the texture and the taste of Brussel sprouts, and you’ll likely have to rehydrate them again to use them as the main ingredient in any meal.
Brussel Sprouts Can Only Last for Two Days at Room Temperature
The final way you can store your Brussel sprouts if you don’t want to freeze them is by keeping them at room temperature.
While this isn’t a suitable storage method if you want to keep your Brussel sprouts long-term, your vegetables will stay fresh for up to two days if they’re fresh when you bring them home.
If you plan to use your Brussel sprouts soon, make sure they’re dry, and they should last the day or two you need before you eat them.
Brussel sprouts are seasonal vegetables that you can only find in the year’s colder months.
If you wish to have Brussel sprouts available all year, you can freeze them in both their raw and cooked form for up to 12 months, as long as you follow the proper steps to do so.