Yellowed greens are safe to eat

Broccoli turns yellow: is it still edible? | Use: yes or no?

Broccoli is known to be a source of lots of valuable fiber, minerals, vitamins, and even vegetable protein. It is important with only a few calories. However, the vegetables often have yellowish and brownish discolorations. In times of massive food waste, you can ask yourself whether it is necessary to dispose of the discolored vegetables immediately. What reasons can there actually be for the development? Find out here whether discolored broccoli florets are still edible or rather poisonous and how you can prevent discoloration from occurring in the first place. In addition, you will learn which parts of the plant you should no longer eat under any circumstances.

This is why broccoli florets turn yellow

There are four reasons for the discoloration:

  1. The vegetables wither.

Often the discoloration is an incipient withering. The plant parts are no longer supplied with water and nutrients and thus die. Typically the color then changes from green to yellow and finally to brown. The longer you wait to eat the vegetables, the less valuable ingredients are left.

  1. The flower buds open.

A broccoli head is the inflorescence of the plant. As long as the flowers are not fully developed, the plant can continue photosynthesis with the green buds. If the flower buds open and parts of the yellow flowers emerge, the florets also appear yellowish. You can tell this yellow color apart from others if the florets are larger overall.

  1. The vegetables can discolour when they are cooked

If you cook the vegetables in boiling water for too long, you will often notice a yellow color. If the broccoli florets are only steamed briefly, the discoloration usually does not occur. By adding aids such as baking soda to the cooking or steaming water, you can largely retain the green color despite longer cooking times. By the way, the heat from cooking destroys the vitamins. The crunchier the cooked florets, the richer in vitamins they are.


Never boil or stew the florets for more than eight minutes.

  1. Parts of the plant were not illuminated by sunlight

In most cases, some of the fresh florets are significantly lighter than the rest. The color is then yellowish-white. The cause: no direct sunlight could shine on these parts of the plant. Some plants only supply those parts of the plant with the green-colored chlorophyll in which they can photosynthesize. Compared to the other three reasons, however, these parts of the plant are significantly more crisp and plump. Roses without chlorophyll are not supplied with all the vitamins and minerals that can be found in the green parts of the plant. Nevertheless, due to their fiber content, they are valuable for the body and should therefore be eaten with them.

Are yellow broccoli florets poisonous?

No, yellow broccoli is definitely not poisonous - neither when it comes to budding or wilting inflorescences. Nor is it harmful to you in any other way if you eat it. Many people eat yellow-colored broccoli because it is still good for the body and still tastes good.

This is what yellow broccoli florets taste like

In most cases, you won't notice an unusual taste in yellow florets. Still, they can be a bit drier and appear less crisp and plump. Even so, the vegetables are still edible.

Prevent yellowing

If you still don't want to eat yellow broccoli florets, make sure that they don't turn yellow in the first place. Only buy fresh broccoli that is still blue-green. Eat it as early as possible - no later than two days after purchase. Until then, store it in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. If you want to eat the vegetables later, you should preserve them. Freezing is the easiest. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • Cut the florets into pieces
  • Rinse in the sieve under running water
  • Drain
  • Freeze in portions, for example in glass containers

Instead of freezing the vegetables, they can also be boiled down. But boiling down takes more time and work.

Not yellowish, but brown?

After the popular flowering vegetable turns yellow, it will turn brown if you don't eat it or freeze it. Some people still eat it in this state - it is not harmful. Nevertheless, in the eyes of many people, broccoli that has turned brown is no longer edible. But in fact, the vegetables are still edible, as long as there are no putrid or mushy spots. You still have to expect less aroma.

When are broccoli florets no longer edible?

Take a good look at the vegetables before preparing them. If you discover threads of mold or putrid and mushy spots, you better refrain from eating the broccoli as a whole. Unlike bread, however, not all of the food is spoiled. It is sufficient if you cut out the affected areas with a knife generously. Remember that the stem leading to these places is usually also affected.


Even bought frozen broccoli is sometimes not free from rotten spots. Before using the product, you should collect all the brown florets.