How to Store Cauliflower (raw, cooked, in vinegar)

ou can store cauliflower for 3 to 5 days in the fridge if it is fresh. You can also freeze it for 10 to 12 months. Another method would be dehydration, allowing you to keep cauliflower for 1 to 2 years or in vinegar for one year.

Store Cauliflower

To know how to preserve cauliflower properly, you must keep reading.

How to choose cauliflower

Cauliflower is a plant that provides many nutrients. For this reason, it is good to incorporate it into our daily diet. I will leave you two practical tips that you should follow when buying a cauliflower:

  • Choose the freshest cauliflower. Avoid those with withered leaves or brown florets. The leaves have to be green and the florets of a white shade.
  • Choose cauliflower with closed bunches. If they are loose or you drop several parts when touching them, it means that the cauliflower is not fresh, and you only must buy it if you are going to eat it the same day or the next.

The fresher the cauliflower you buy, the longer it will last. Next, I will explain how you can preserve cauliflower in several ways.

How to keep cauliflower in the fridge?

To maintain the freshness of the cauliflower, the best thing you can do is store it inside the fridge. Without tying it, you must put it in a standard plastic bag for the cauliflower to breathe. 

Then, you can put it inside the vegetable drawer or in a cool refrigerator area with the stem up so the moisture does not stay in the bunch. 

Thus, the cauliflower can be kept refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. An extra tip I give you is not to wash the cauliflower before storing it in the fridge. [1]

Cauliflower can absorb and retain a good amount of liquids. Therefore, it is best to wash them with cold water before eating them, but not before storing them in the fridge. 

How to freeze cauliflower

Can cauliflower be frozen? Yes,you can freeze cauliflower for a long time. However, you should consider that the longer it goes frozen, its texture and flavor will change, and it will not taste the same as when it was fresh.

Here is what you need to do to freeze cauliflower:

  • Step 1: Wash the cauliflower.

For this step, you must wash the cauliflower. First, remove the green leaves, then cut the cauliflower with a knife into florets. Then, wash the pieces with cold water and strain them.

  • Step 2: Bleach the cauliflower.

In a pot, boil water, add a tablespoon of salt, and add the cauliflower florets once it is boiling. Let cook for 3 minutes. Strain and put the pieces in a bowl with cold water (if it has ice better) to stop cooking.

Finally, you should dry the pieces using paper towels.

  • Step 3: Prepare a tray.

Place wax paper or a nonstick tablecloth on a tray and arrange the cauliflower pieces, ensuring they do not touch.

  • Step 4: Perform first freezing.

Put the tray in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours or until the cauliflower pieces feel frozen.

  • Step 5: Put the cauliflower pieces in freezer bags.

Once frozen, transfer the cauliflower pieces to several freezer bags or smaller containers (as long as they are freezer-resistant).

Then you can put the smaller bags in a larger one. The idea is not to keep all the cauliflower together only to thaw what needs to be used.

  • Step 6: Label the container.

Write the storage date of the cauliflower on the bag.

  • Step 7: Store the cauliflower in the freezer.

This way, you can freeze the cauliflower for about 10 to 12 months.

How to store cooked cauliflower

In case you have cooked a good amount of cauliflower, you can store it as follows: 

  • Step 1: Wait for the cauliflower to cool.

It is not good to store food when it is still hot since the steam condenses in the bag or container where it is stored, and that moisture would harm the cauliflower.

Another thing to remember is that you should not leave the cauliflower cooked at room temperature for more than two hours since, after this time, the bacteria will have developed so much that it is no longer safe to eat it. 

  • Step 2: Put the cauliflower in an airtight container or bag.

Since cauliflower is already cooked, it does not need air to stay fresh, so it is best to keep it sealed.

  • Step 3: Store the cooked cauliflower in the fridge.

Put the bag or container in the coldest part of the refrigerator so the cooked cauliflower can last between 3 and 5 days.

Can you freeze cooked cauliflower? Yes, cooked cauliflower can also be frozen, followed by the same steps as freezing fresh cauliflower, except for the first two. 

In other words, first, arrange the cooked cauliflower pieces on a tray and freeze them for a couple of hours. Then, bag, label, and finally store in the freezer for 10 or 12 months.

Unlike fresh cauliflower, which you should eat on the same day you thaw it, you can store the thawed cooked cauliflower in the fridge for 3 or 4 more days.

Keep cauliflower in vinegar

Preparing a pickle of cauliflower using vinegar is an excellent method to extend its shelf life, adding flavor and giving way to trying new recipes.

Just follow these instructions:

  • Step 1: Wash the cauliflower.

Cut the green leaves and separate the cauliflower into florets. Then, wash them under tap water with plenty of cold water. 

  • Step 2: Bleach it.

Boil water in a pot, add a couple of tablespoons of sea salt, and cook the cauliflower florets for 3 minutes. Then, strain them, pass them through cold water to stop cooking, strain them again, and dry them with absorbent paper.

  • Step 3: Prepare the vinegar.

In a pot, put one cup of water, four cups of vinegar, three tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of sugar, and chopped cilantro, and add the spices you want; for example, you can add peppercorns, mustard seeds, or pepper flakes. 

Cook everything over medium heat until it boils. Turn off the heat and wait for it to cool.

  • Step 4: Fill the jars.

To store cauliflower in vinegar, use glass jars with a tight lid or clean and dry. Put the cauliflower florets in the jar and add some strips of red or orange pepper and some garlic heads if you want.

Then, pour the vinegar until all the vegetables are covered. Leave one finger of unfilled free space in the jar. Cover well.

  • Step 5: Vacuum seal.

In a large and tall pot with a thick bottom, put a clean dishcloth at the bottom. That way, you will avoid the jars constantly colliding with each other or the pot and end up breaking.

Put the jars in the pot and add water until covered. Turn on the stove, put the lid on, and let it boil for 20 or 30 minutes for emptying.

After this time, turn off the heat and wait for the water to cool before removing the jars. Then, put the jars on a table or countertop away from sunlight for a few hours until they cool completely.

  • Step 6: Label the container.

Stick a label on the jar with the day of storage of the cauliflower.

  • Step 7: Save the pickled cauliflower.

Store the sealed jar of pickled cauliflower where light does not hit is moisture-free and cool for up to a year. Storing the jar in the fridge will keep it for the same period.

Once you uncap the jar, you will need to keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

How to dehydrate cauliflower?

This method allows you to preserve cauliflower for a long time without using the fridge. In addition, dehydrated cauliflower goes excellent in salads or as an appetizer. To do this, you will need to do the following:

  • Step 1: Clean and chop the cauliflower.

Cut the cauliflower into florets, remove the leaves, and wash them with cold water. 

  • Step 2: Whiten.

Sew the cauliflower florets in a pot with water and a tablespoon of salt for 3 minutes. After this time, remove the florets from the hot water and transfer them to a cup with cold water to cut the cooking.

Then, strain and dry them with absorbent paper. 

  • Step 3: Chop the florets.

Chop the florets in half to make the cauliflower dehydrate a little faster.

  • Step 4: Dehydrate the cauliflower.

You can use the oven in your kitchen. You must set the temperature to about 140°F (60°C), or the lowest you can. 

Then, prepare a tray with wax paper or a nonstick sheet, and on top, arrange the cauliflower florets, leaving space between them so that the air circulates better. Bake for about 10 or 12 hours, turning the slices every hour. 

With a food dehydrator, you do not need to prepare a tray; just put the cauliflower pieces inside the appliance, leaving space between them. Set the temperature to about 50° and dehydrate for 12 hours.

You will know that they are ready when the cauliflower florets reduce their size a little and are somewhat hard. Let cool when ready before packing.

  • Step 5: Transfer the dehydrated cauliflower to glass jars.

Glass jars are ideal for preserving dehydrated foods. The jar should be clean and completely dry. I recommend not filling it, only 2/3 parts of it. 

That way, you will notice if the cauliflower still contains moisture since the jar’s walls will be wet. If this happens, only dehydrate again for a few more hours. 

  • Step 6: Write down the storage date.

Attach a label with the date of dehydration of the cauliflower.

  • Step 7: Store the dehydrated cauliflower.

Store the jar with the dehydrated cauliflower in a dry, dark place away from equipment that emits heat. This way, you can keep the dehydrated cauliflower in good condition for 1 or 2 years.

How do we know if cauliflower got bad?

Determining if the cauliflower is in poor condition is simple. It should have any of these characteristics:

  • Wilted: if the cauliflower is completely withered, in other words, all the florets that compose it are already brown, and it is no longer safe to eat it.
  • Mold: If it has dark or greenish spots or lint, it indicates that it developed mold, and therefore, it is no longer safe to eat.
  • Bad smell or taste:  if you notice that cauliflower smells terrible or weird and has a taste that it should not, discard it immediately to prevent poisoning.
  • Too soft: if, to the touch, the fresh cauliflower is exceptionally soft, it means that you did not store it well or that its shelf life has ended. In this case, it is not recommended to consume either.

How long does cauliflower last?

Fresh cauliflower in the fridge3 – 5 days
Fresh cauliflower in the freezer10 – 12 months
Cooked cauliflower in the fridge3 – 5 days
Cooked cauliflower in the freezer10 – 12 months
Cooked, thawed cauliflower in the fridge3 – 4 days
Cauliflower in vinegar (sealed)1 year
Cauliflower in vinegar in the fridge (open)2 weeks
Dehydrated cauliflower1 – 2 years

What is the best way to store cauliflower?

There is no better way to preserve fresh cauliflower than keeping it in the fridge, even if it is not for long. With this method, the cauliflower retains its freshness.

When you decide to freeze cauliflower, although it can last much longer, its flavor and texture will be affected the longer it is frozen.

Cooked cauliflower can be refrigerated and frozen; as with fresh cauliflower, the longer it spends in the freezer, it will lose flavor.

There is the option of preserving pickled cauliflower. Thanks to this method, you can not only add flavor, but it lends itself to preparing other recipes. Another alternative is to dehydrate the cauliflower and thus remain for a long time. 

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