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Whether you are growing a plethora in your garden, or find a great sale and want to stock up, you may find yourself wondering can you freeze cauliflower for later?
Keep reading for all the details on how to freeze cauliflower.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower?
Yes, you can freeze cauliflower. Cauliflower can be frozen without degradation in quality for at least a year. You simply need to clean and cut it. Then blanch for 3 minutes and package it for your freezer.
The fact is, not only can you freeze cauliflower, but (much like broccoli) you can do so in several different ways. From cut into florets to riced and from full blanching to flash freezing. You can choose the method and preparation that will be suit your desired used later.
|Blanched||3 minute (1 lb at a time)|
|Time To Freeze||2 to 4 hours (flash freeze)|
12 to 24 (deep freeze)
|Time to Thaw||a few hours in the fridge|
add to recipes frozen
|Uses||Fried or sautéed|
Soup or stew
|Freezer Life||up to 12 months|
Frozen Vs Non-frozen
|Freezer Life||Fridge Life|
|up to 1 year||Florets up to 4 days|
Whole head wrapped up to 7 days
You are going to need the following supplies:
- 2 colanders (1 for washing and 1 for blanching)
- knife and cutting board (if no mandolin slicer)
- large mixing bowl (for blanching ice bath)
- large stock pot (for blanching)
- kitchen timer
- blender or food processor (for puree)
- cookie sheet (for flash freezing)
- Freezer bags
- Sharpie or marker
Freezing cauliflower can be done a couple of different ways. One way is to freeze cauliflower rice. This method we will cover a bit further down, including how to "rice" your cauliflower.
The other way, which we prefer, is to freeze florets. This method we use both flash freezing and blanching in tandem to do the best freezing job possible.
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
How to blanch
Blanching is one of the most common methods used in food preservation. When you blanch something, you are just barely cooking it enough to destroy an enzyme that keeps veggies still aging, even when frozen, but not so long that it is out of a discernible raw form.
- boil a stock pot of water using a pot large enough to fit a colander into
- place your cauliflower (or whatever you are blanching) into the colander
- when you have a rolling boil, lower the colander into the pot
- set a kitchen timer for the appropriate time
- for cauliflower we do 1 minute per pound (try to stick to 1 or 2 lbs at a time)
- Fill a large mixing bowl, also big enough for a colander, with cold water and ice
- when the blanching timer sounds, quickly, remove the colander from the heat and plunge it into the ice bath
- set the timer for another minute (always cool for the same amount of time you blanch)
- when that timer goes off, take the cauliflower out of the ice bath
- you can either let it air dry or use paper towels to pat dry the cauliflower
- once dry, continue with the directions below; most likely flash freezing
How to flash freeze
When we flash freeze something we are basically doing a pre-freeze to harden the outside of the cauliflower before we bag it and store it away for deep freeze.
- Cover a baking pan or cookie sheet with foil or wax/parchment paper
- Arrange your cauliflower on the cookie sheet in a single layer with no pieces overlapping
- Freeze the cauliflower for around 2 to 4 hours
- While waiting, label your freezer bags or containers with the freeze and use by dates plus the contents
- After your time goes off, pull the cauliflower out of the freezer and move to the next step
How to freeze cauliflower
Freezing cauliflower florets
Let's start with a large, fresh, and blemish free head of cauliflower. The fresher the vegetable the better it will last when frozen.
- Use a knife to cut the head of the cauliflower from the leaves and thick base
- Use your hand or a knife to start separating it into small to medium size florets
- Run them under cool water to clean them (we like to put them in a colander and do them all at once)
- Once they are clean, start the blanching process as per the directions above
- Once they are blanched, cooled, and dried start the flash freezing process as per the directions above
- Now that you have that out of the way, start bagging your cauliflower into freezer labeled bags
- Store the bagged cauliflower in a deep freezer until you need it
Freezing cauliflower rice
This process is much shorter than the floret version above. Since the pieces are so small you don't not need to blanch and since it will be riced, it doesn't matter if they stick together when freezing.
- Start out the same as freezing florets; remove the leaves and stem
- cut florets but make them pretty small so they rice more easily in the food processor
- wash the cauliflower under cool running water
- put all of the cauliflower into a food processor and use the pulse/manual function until it is a rice like consistency
- label your freezer bags with contents, freeze and use by dates
- measure out a serving or two (we add two 1 cup servings per quart bag)
- dump your preferred serving size into the bag and squish all of the air out of the bag
- place the bag in the freezer and leave it there until you need it
- Place the bags back into the freezer and leave them undisturbed for the next 24 to 48 hours
You can thaw frozen cauliflower rice in the fridge overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Do I have to blanch cauliflower before freezing it?
Yes and no. If you are freezing cauliflower rice, then no. It is small enough that it will be fine. If you are freezing florets, you will need to blanch or risk your cauliflower still spoiling in the freezer.
Q2. How do you keep cauliflower from turning brown?
Make sure after you wash your cauliflower it is thoroughly dry before freezing it. Excess moisture can lead to browning and sometimes mold growth.
Q3. Why does my cauliflower turn black when I freeze it?
If you cauliflower is turning black after you freeze it, that means it has gone bad and is spoiled. Most often this happens because the cauliflower was either already going bad or was not blanched long enough (or at all).
If you have cauliflower that has gone bad, throw it away. Eating spoiled vegetables can be dangerous.
Q4. How do you tell when cauliflower has gone bad?
Cauliflower will give you all of the same tell-tale signs that any vegetation will give when it is starting to go rotten. It will start to turn from it's natural color to brown and eventually to black. You will also sometimes notice mold, excess moisture (if not frozen yet), and it will start to smell.
Never eat or freeze spoiled cauliflower. Vegetables that are bad can have dangerous bacteria like salmonella, staph, and e.coli. Any of these can make you seriously ill and, in some cases, even lead to death.
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.