How to Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether or not your vegetables have gone bad. This guide will give you a couple of pointers on how to identify the freshness of various vegetables. If you're still not sure about the state of your vegetable(s) after you read this, just remember: when in doubt, throw it out!

Steps

  1. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 1
    1
    Check your leafy green vegetables. Green vegetables will wilt after a couple days, especially if they're unpackaged. You can revitalize them by soaking their stems in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This does not always work, however, so if your leafy greens still look droopy after soaking, go ahead and toss them.
  2. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 2
    2
    Check your asparagus. The tip is usually the first part to go bad—it will turn dark green or black and become mushy to the touch. If this happens, you can still eat the asparagus if you cut off the tips and just cook the stems! But if the whole asparagus has turned dark green or black, it can't be saved.
  3. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 3
    3
    Check your eggplant. Fresh eggplant has a spongy texture and is slightly bitter, while rotten eggplant is tough and extremely bitter. Watch out for mushy and/or discolored patches on the eggplant, as this could also indicate rot within the vegetable.
  4. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 4
    4
    Check your beans. Dried beans last indefinitely, and canned beans can last for up to a year, but fresh green beans only last a few days, so keep an eye on them. Put green beans in the fridge to extend their shelf life. As for cooked beans, just make sure to smell them before reheating (spoiled beans will give off a sour odor).
  5. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 5
    5
    Check your broccoli. Fresh broccoli stems are firm, so if the broccoli is bad, the stem will be limp. Additionally, fresh broccoli is bright green, so any color other than that should be a warning sign.
  6. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 6
    6
    Check your brussels sprouts. If they are slimy or the stems are brown/black, throw them out. Similar to beans, they also give off a bad smell when they are spoiled, so check that as well.
  7. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 7
    7
    Check your carrots. Carrots only stay good for a week or two, so make sure to eat them fast. Bad carrots will be limp and discolored, typically yellow or even almost white. Unlike other vegetables, carrots should be washed before you store them in order to ensure freshness.
  8. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 8
    8
    Check your cauliflower. The head of a cauliflower should be white, purple, or light green, and the head should be spongy. If it's brown or yellow, throw it out. Same thing if it's soft and mushy.
  9. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 9
    9
    Check your celery. Celery stores well in the fridge, lasting up to four weeks, so you have a little more leeway with it than with other vegetables. Bad celery turns white and hollows out, so check for that if you think your celery is spoiled.
  10. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 10
    10
    Check your onions. Members of the onion family include chives, garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots. The bigger ones, onions and large shallots/heads of garlic, can last up to two months in the fridge, while the smaller ones can last a couple of weeks. As with green beans, keep onions in the fridge to preserve them longer.
  11. Image titled Check if Vegetables Are Spoiled Step 11
    11
    Check your squash. Squash will become bruised and mushy when it's spoiled, kind of like a banana. Most squashes will last about a week, regardless of whether they are in the fridge or in the pantry.

Tips

  • Try not to keep any cooked leftovers for more than a week.
  • Except for carrots and herbs, do not wash any of your vegetables before storing them! This can weaken their constitution and make them more susceptible to mold.
  • Keep your fridge at a crisp temperature, ideally between 32° and 40°F (0 and 4.4°C).

Article Info

Categories: Diet & Lifestyle