Broccoli should be cooled below 5°C as soon as possible, especially if it has been harvested under warm conditions. Hydro-vacuum cooling is a fast and energy-efficient method of cooling broccoli. Forced air cooling and hydrocooling can also be effective.
Storage life is maximised at close to 0°C combined with high RH. Broccoli usually remains in excellent condition for at least 3 to 5 weeks at 0−3°C. Below 5°C ethylene sensitivity is reduced and storage life is usually ended by rots. Above 5°C storage life is limited by ethylene induced floret yellowing and general deterioration.
Broccoli florets have a rapid respiration rate and both produce and respond strongly to ethylene. They yellow within 2–3 days at 20°C.
Broccoli responds well to modified atmospheres (MA) if stored for an extended period (>3 weeks). Atmospheres containing 7−10% CO₂ and 2–8% O₂ are usually recommended. Any off odours normally dissipate after a few hours in normal air.