Cauliflower Storage Hacks You Need to Know!

Cauliflower isn’t the flashiest veggie, but it’s finally having its moment thanks to the rise in popularity of things like cauliflower rice and cauliflower crust pizza. If you’re new to the wonderful world of cauliflower cookery or are just perpetually frustrated by quick-spoiling cauliflower, read on for the best tips to prolong the life of any head of cauliflower.

How Long Does Cauliflower Last?

Fridge: 5-7 days

Room temperature on the counter: 1-2 days

In the freezer: up to 1 year

Should Raw Cauliflower Be Refrigerated?

The best way to get the longest shelf life out of cauliflower is to refrigerate it. This slows down the spoiling process and gives you more days of freshness. You can store it on the counter, but it’s not recommended. Though, if you bring a cauliflower home from the store and you know you want to cook it that night, the counter is just fine.

Ways to Store Cauliflower in the Fridge

Cauliflower loves a dry environment with lots of airflow. If you bought your cauliflower whole and unwrapped, store it loosely covered or in a perforated bag with the stem side facing upwards. Storing it with the stem up and florets down prevents moisture from collecting on the florets, accelerating spoilage.

Sometimes, whole cauliflower is sold shrink-wrapped or tightly packed in plastic. This barrier keeps moisture (and contaminants) out while keeping the delicate, crumbly florets in. If the plastic is tied off, simply undo the knot and keep the cauliflower loosely covered. If you bought your cauliflower precut in a bag, carefully poke three or four small holes in the bag with a sharp knife. The best way to ensure that cauliflower lasts as long as possible is to keep it away from moisture at all costs. This means holding off on washing cauliflower until right before you use it.

How to Freeze Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be frozen for up to a year, so it’s an easy way to avoid wasting any produce. However, freezing cauliflower is a bit more involved than just popping a whole head of cauliflower in the freezer.

Start by cutting away any leaves and stems. Then, scan the head; if there are any brown spots, carefully cut them away. Next, core your cauliflower and cut it into bite-sized florets. Meanwhile, set a large pot of heavily salted water to boil, then set up a large bowl of ice water. Place cauliflower in a sieve and rinse. Once the water is boiling, dump all the cauliflower in and boil for about 3 minutes.

Carefully use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to the ice water. While the cauliflower is cooling, line two sheet pans with tea towels, then transfer the cauliflower to the trays. After a few minutes, the cauliflower should be dry. Scoop them up in the towels and then line the sheet trays with wax paper or a Silpat.

Gentle spread the florets onto the trays so that they’re not touching. Place in the freezer and let freeze solid, or at least 3 hours. Once the cauliflower is fully frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag—label and date the bag. Freezing on a sheet tray first, and then in a bag ensures that the cauliflower florets won’t stick together as they freeze and make a giant cauliflower rock.

How to Tell If Cauliflower Has Gone Bad

Cauliflower is naturally white, so it’s easy to see when any part of it becomes discolored. Some small brown spots are ok; this is oxidation and is safe to eat. However, a few days after they form, they can start to soften the cauliflower. Any black spots, though, are signs of spoilage and are a good indicator that your cauliflower is going bad.

These black spots can also cause the cauliflower to get slimy. Any goopy spots or sliminess is your cue to toss your cauliflower. Keep an eye out for mold as well. Any mold spots mean it’s time to toss the whole head; remember– mold spores are microscopic, so by the time you see blooms, the whole head is covered in spores.


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