What It Means If Your Broccoli Florets Smell

Broccoli, for broccoli lovers, has that inviting, wholesome look that appeals to good health, but what does it mean if this popular veggie adopts a sharp odor?

Whether food is vacuumed sealed or on display without any packaging, we would be hard-pressed to linger close by if we do not like its smell. Why? The answer may be somewhere along the timeline of humanity's 200,000-year advancement (per Science), as it was actually the ability to smell the difference between fresh and decaying food that better equipped primordial bipeds for evolution (per The Guardian).

Today, although the connection between healthy nutrition and the olfactory sense may seem understated, the ability to smell food is still essential to good health, per UCLA. The latter is despite the canons of food safety regulations and "sell by" or "use by" dates on the packaging, a factor worth bearing in mind when you do not like the smell of your broccoli florets, which, by the way, you'll never see sold in can.

The significance of smelly broccoli

The smell of broccoli is not supposed to be robust but rather a subtle vegetal scent (per Yum of China). The intensification of this smell, which is sometimes to the point where it is akin to rotten eggs, is telling of pathogenic bacteria. This condition is usually accompanied by the softening of the vegetable's stems, discoloration, and mold (per Lucky Belly).

What does it mean if your broccoli florets are smelly? The simple answer is danger. The longer answer is that a microscopic community has moved in on your favorite green veggie and is communicating to you, via odor, that it now belongs to them. Should you try to reclaim it, they will attempt the same colonization on your innards, consequently inflicting food bourne illnesses, or what we refer to as food poisoning (per Tufts University).

A notable aspect of these cruciferous vegetables' edibility is their lifespan. When stored whole and fresh in a refrigerator, broccoli can last up to ten days, and while this is a guide to go on (per lucky belly), this is not a concrete rule. Helpful determiners are the senses and this being the case, appearance, texture, smell, and lastly, taste, which should be avoided if there is any inclination your broccoli has turned (via Eating Well).