Cauliflower is a versatile and nutritious vegetable. Therefore, it’s become a staple food in the ordinary diets of many people all over the world. However, cauliflower is notoriously difficult to store, which leaves many people asking the question, what is the best way to store cauliflower?
The best way to store cauliflower is in a cold, humid environment above freezing. It should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a moist cloth and place into a perforated container. For longer-term storage cauliflower can be blanched, placed into freezer bags and stored in a freezer for up to one year.
Storing your cauliflower correctly will help to keep it fresh and prevent it from going brown and drying out. This blog post will explain in detail steps how to refrigerate or freeze it correctly. In addition, I’ll inform you of another alternative in case your fridge doesn’t have the room.
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The Best Way To Store Cauliflower In The Fridge
Cauliflower is made up of multiple florets, all connected to one stem 1. The cauliflower head grows best in cool climates, and storing it is no different. The cauliflower head will retain maximum freshness if stored in a cool and humid environment.
Storing the cauliflower head in the refrigerator is the best option 2. The only problem with storing the cauliflower head in the fridge is it’s best kept in a humid environment. The refrigerator, while cooling down the air temperature, dries out the air inside.
For this reason, when storing a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator, it’s a good idea to follow these four steps:
- Wrap the cauliflower in a clean damp cloth or paper towels. This keeps the humidity around the cauliflower stable.
- To further increase the effectiveness of the damp cloth, place the cauliflower inside a perforated, slotted container.
- If you don’t have a container, loosely wrap plastic around the cauliflower and damp towel.
- The cauliflower can last in the fridge for up to two weeks.
This will help keep the moisture from the towel from evaporating too quickly while allowing the vegetable to stay aerated. This will prevent it from getting soggy and rotting.
Too much moisture can be a bad thing for the cauliflower, especially if the moisture is sealed in. Therefore, make sure the moisture has a way of evaporating slowly. Otherwise, it will spoil your vegetable.
Storing Cauliflower In The Freezer
Cauliflowers are best kept in low temperatures, but not too low. If the temperature around the cauliflower drops to below 32°F, the cauliflower can lose some quality 3. At these low temperatures, the cauliflower will begin discoloring, and the stem will become hollow.
This will cause the cauliflower to break down, and what was intended for keeping it fresh, will cause it to go bad quickly. If cauliflower damaged by the cold is defrosted, it will rot very quickly at normal or even cool temperatures.
This cauliflower is still edible, but it will not stay that way for very long. Therefore, cook it soon after defrosting.
However, it’s possible to store a head of cauliflower in the freezer safely if the correct steps are taken 4. To prepare a head of cauliflower for storage in the freezer, follow these 5 steps:
- Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for three minutes or steam for five. This process helps to preserve it, kill any parasites and retain its color.
- After the cauliflower has been blanched, cut off the stems and separate it into individual florets. Place the florets onto a baking tray or other large flat surface that will fit in your freezer.
- Space the florets apart so they aren’t touching each other. This will prevent them from freezing together into large clumps. It would make it difficult to separate and work with later.
- After the cauliflower has frozen, place them in an airtight container or freezer bags. Date the bag or container.
- The frozen cauliflower can be stored for up to a year without losing any of its goodness.
A cauliflower that has been properly prepared will maintain its integrity, color, consistency and nutritional make-up. It’s important not to boil it for too long, studies have shown how the amounts of vitamin decrease the longer it’s cooked 5. Freezing a cauliflower is the best way to store it for extended periods.
How To Blanch Cauliflower To Freeze
It’s necessary to blanch cauliflower before freezing it to maintain the integrity of the vegetable. This process allows the cauliflower to retain its nutritional benefits, color and consistency when stored for long periods 6.
To blanch a head of cauliflower follow these eight steps:
- Clean the cauliflower with fresh water. Soak it in a bath of fresh water with a small amount of salt sprinkled in. This will clean off any residual dirt and remove any insects that survived the journey from the farm.
- Cut the head in half and divide it into individual florets.
- While cleaning and preparing the cauliflower, fill a pot with water and start to heat it to a rapid boil.
- After the cauliflower is cleaned, place it into the pot of boiling water for five minutes. Be sure that the water covers all of the cauliflower to ensure the entire vegetable cooks. If any of the cauliflower remains uncooked, it will not fare well in the freezing process.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, fill a big bowl with water and ice.
- After 3 minutes, remove the cauliflower and immediately transfer it into the bowl of ice water. This will prevent the cauliflower from continuing to cook after you have removed it from the heat.
- Leave the cauliflower in the ice water for three minutes then transfer it to a colander so it can drain.
- Be sure to thoroughly drain the cauliflower before placing it into the freezer. Excess water within the vegetable could cause it to break apart when it forms ice crystals.
Alternative Cauliflower Storage Tips
Wherever you store your cauliflower, be sure to keep it in an area with low temperature. Cauliflower doesn’t do well in warm temperatures or in dry air.
If the cauliflower is kept in a dry environment, it will dry out and turn brown. If the cauliflower is kept in a warm environment, it will rot quickly.
Cauliflower can be stored in cold rooms like a cellar, basement, garage or a cool pantry. These areas are fine as long as the temperature never gets warmer than 50-59°F.
Keep the cauliflower stored in perforated containers or covered in loose-fitting plastic to help prevent the moisture from being lost. In addition, this will keep unwanted insects off the food.
Be sure the cauliflower has some ventilation around it. Also, rotate the cauliflower within its storage receptacle to prevent parts of it from rotting.
Even in these conditions, cauliflower won’t stay fresh for very long. It’s best to buy cauliflower to be cooked and used soon, rather than storing them for long periods.
Wrapping Up The Stored Cauliflower
Cauliflower is are a popular food for good reason. They are healthy, packed full of vitamins, and they grow quite quickly.
They can be difficult to store, but if you take the right steps they can be kept safely for a long while. One of the reasons is it needs high humidity 7.
To keep a cauliflower in the fridge, make sure it stays slightly damp by wrapping it in a damp cloth or paper towel. Then wrap the whole thing in loose-fitting plastic or placed into perforated plastic.
Keeping cauliflower in the fridge will keep it good to eat for up to two weeks.
For long-term storage, freezing cauliflower is the best way to keep it good. Be sure to blanch the cauliflower before freezing it to ensure maximum freshness and longevity. Frozen cauliflower will stay good to use for up to a year.
Cauliflower will always be at its best when it’s fresh. Therefore, try to use it soon after bringing it home.
However, don’t worry if you do not use it immediately. Simply take the right steps to preserve it, and your cauliflower will be ready and fresh for you to cook when you’re ready to use it.
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- Wikipedia: Cauliflower
- Purdue University: Cauliflower
- Oregon State University: Cauliflower
- Michigan State University: Using, Storing and Preserving Cauliflower
- University of Arizona: Cauliflower
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing Blanching
- University of Maryland: Cauliflower