When I was a kid, cauliflower, just like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, was not my food of choice. But with time, it turned out that cauliflower is way tastier than it looks and that for quite some years, I was missing out on some seriously delicious food. I know a lot of grownups that still refuse to eat the cauliflower simply because it does not look edible and tasty to them.
That is what triggered me to take some time and write this article. I want to bring justice to this misunderstood veggie. Did you try creamy mash made from cauliflower and butter? Fried cauliflower? Is warm creamy cauliflower soup perfect for cold winter nights? You bet it is! This veggie is so yummy and versatile that it would be a shame not to include it in your food menu.
Luckily for us cauliflower-eater, this veggie is available for buying in the grocery store all throughout the year. But the best time for buying a cauliflower is in September when the season of this veggie is in prime time. This is when you will be able to buy a cauliflower that is full of flavor for the most affordable price.
If you decide to stockpile on it, but you do not know how long does cauliflower lasts, you are at the right place at the right time. Today I am going to share my experience with storing cooked and uncooked cauliflower.
Shelf Life Of The Cauliflower
As you already know, fresh veggies and fruits do not come with the best by date. You will have to base that date according to when you had purchased it. Cauliflower comes in varieties of color from white to purple, orange, and green, but no matter which one you bought, they all have the same shelf life.
Considering you had purchased the fresh cauliflower, it can remain in good shape in your fridge for about two weeks. Of course, you can leave it in the pantry for a couple of days, usually two to four days, but be aware that its quality will deteriorate there, maybe even faster.
If you want to store it in the freezer, you can keep it in the freezer for up to a year, but it is best to use it within 6 to 8 months.
How To Store Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is a very gentle and fragile veggie, so it requires good care and proper storage conditions to remain fresh and edible. For someone who is more experienced in the kitchen, you can also pickle the cauliflower and use it all year long (these don’t last more than a few months in my household since they are delicious).
As I said, it is best to be kept in the fridge, but that does not mean you just toss the whole had in the crisp drawer and get done with it. Cauliflowers need a cold and moist environment, and the crisp drawer is not that.
You will provide the moisture if you wrap the head in the plastic wrap but leave a little hole at the top, even better is to put it in the vented plastic bag to trap the moisture in. The holes in the bag will release the excess moisture. Make sure your packed cauliflower does not get too much moisture since that promotes the growth of microorganisms.
Do not wash the cauliflower until just before use, and if you will not use the whole head, just break off what you need and rinse that section. If you cooked the cauliflower and you have leftovers, place it in the airtight container and store it in the fridge for about 5 to 6 days in the best case. Of course, keep in mind that it relates only to plain cooked cauliflower.
How To Freeze The Cauliflower?
If you need a long-term option, you can freeze cauliflower and keep it frozen from frozen for 6 to 12 months, but as I said already, use it within eight months for the best quality. We’ve all seen frozen cauliflowers in the stores, so we know it freezes very well, but you must know the whole process since it is not only cutting the florets and stacking them in the freezer.
When it comes to the actual process, it’s a bit more time-consuming than you expect it, but that is the safest way to preserve your cauliflower in the best shape.
- The first step is prepping the cauliflowers. That means trimming off the leaves and cutting the head into florets. Make sure to wash them thoroughly and check for insects since they can easily crawl in.
- After you are done with the first step, the next thing you must do is blanch. Bring a large pot of water to a boiling point and blanch the florets for approximately 3 minutes. Don’t forget to add four teaspoons of salt per 1 gallon of water if you do not want to add salt, that is fine as well.
- After blanching, it is time to cool off the florets and stop the cooking process by transferring the florets into ice-cold water and leave there for a couple of minutes. Drain the water and pat the florets dry before you put them into the freezing bag. I always portion my veggies in dish-size portions. You can also use an airtight container instead of freezing bags. Seal the bag or container tightly and label the date.
Since you will cook the frozen cauliflower, there’s no real need to thaw it. You can add it frozen, and they will be done in no time, but if you do need to defrost it, place it in the fridge overnight.
How To Tell If Cauliflower Is Bad?
Cauliflower is not only white, as I already said it could also be purple or orange. It can be a bit harder to distinguish some changes on them so make sure you check on it very carefully to see if there are any brown areas starting to develop. If there is, just remove that section of the cauliflower and you can freely use the rest of it. In case you find mold or large black areas, discard the whole head.
Please be aware that minor blemishes and imperfections are perfectly normal, and they can appear on any type of veggie. Fresh cauliflower is firm to the touch, and it has a dry texture; if your veggie is limp and soft, it is time to part your ways.
The best way to spot spoiled food is by smell. If the head smells bad and you know you haven’t exposed it to any smelly food, there’s something wrong with it for sure, and you should throw it out immediately.
When it comes to cooked cauliflower, make sure that every time you use it, you always look for any signs of mold. No matter that plain cooked cauliflower can keep well for up to a week, if you accidentally exposed it to microbes before storing it in the fridge, it will take no more than a day to turn bad.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
Just like many other vegetables, cauliflower too does not have a long shelf life, and if you want to prolong it, you must be very thorough and careful. I know I am boring you with this, but please don’t wash your veggies until you are ready to use them since this will spoil them in a day.
Don’t give up on long term storing of cauliflower just because there is a bit more work to do. Remember, it is always better to freeze your own food (and much cheaper as well) than to use a frozen one bought in a supermarket that maybe has questionable quality.
When you stockpile fresh, healthy foods, you can be sure your eating habits will turn for the better, and you will save up some real money over the year. Does this not motivate you enough to join me and learn how to properly store a different kind of food?