Frozen cauliflower can be used in casseroles and soups all year round. Soak the fresh cauliflower to retain its flavor and nutrition, then place the cauliflower buds in a freezer bag and store. See Step 1 for how to freeze cauliflower.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing the Cauliflower
Step 1. Choose fresh cauliflower
Choose cauliflower that is young, and fresh just as it is ripe for freezing. The cauliflower florets should be tight and white. Avoid cauliflower heads that have brown spots or broken parts. When you thaw frozen cauliflower when it's overripe, you won't like the taste and texture.
- You can pick cauliflower that you grow yourself or buy from a farmers market for really fresh cauliflower.
- Avoid freezing oversized cauliflower heads that have been stored at room temperature for a long time.
Step 2. Wash the cauliflower
Use cold running water to wash away any dirt, bugs and pesticide residue trapped in the tight cauliflower buds. If you pick cauliflower, you may need to soak it in warm water to make sure all the holes and crevices in between are clean. Watch carefully because spiders often hide among the cauliflower buds.
Step 3. Remove all the leaves
Green leaves can be removed. Only the white buds will be frozen.
Step 4. Cut the cauliflower
Use a sharp knife to remove the brown spots. Cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets for easier freezing. You can also use your hands to separate the florets.
- If you like, you can cut the cauliflower into different sizes, either smaller or larger.
- Think about what you're going to make with frozen cauliflower before cutting it. If you're preparing it for soup, it's okay if it's not uniform in size as the cauliflower will be mashed. But if you are going to make roasted cauliflower as a side dish, then you will need to make pieces of uniform size to make it look prettier.
Step 5. Soak the cauliflower in the salt water
If you're concerned that your cauliflower has bugs - a problem that is common with fresh cauliflower - you can take the extra precaution of soaking it in salt water. Fill a large bowl with a gallon of tap water and 4 teaspoons of salt. Soak cauliflower for 30 minutes. The insects inside, if any, will float to the surface. Discard the brine and rinse the cauliflower one more time.
Method 2 of 3: Soaking the Cauliflower
Step 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil
Soaking cauliflower in hot water destroys the enzymes that cause color and taste changes, as well as spoilage. To soak the cauliflower, bring enough water to cover the cauliflower in a large saucepan.
Not soaking the cauliflower in hot water before freezing it will make it discolored and soft when you thaw it. Then you should soak it first
Step 2. Provide ice water
While the water is boiling, place the ice cubes and water in a bowl large enough to hold the cauliflower. You'll be putting the cauliflower soaked in hot water in ice water to stop the cooking process so it doesn't overcook.
Step 3. Place the cauliflower in boiling water
Boil for 3 minutes, which is enough to destroy the enzymes that will spoil the cauliflower after some time. If you have too much cauliflower to fit into the pot, soak it in several sessions.
Step 4. Transfer the cauliflower to the ice water
Use a hollow spoon to transfer it from the cooking pot to the iced water. After about 3 minutes, you can discard the water and ice. The cauliflower is now ready to freeze.
Method 3 of 3: Freezing Cauliflower
Step 1. Divide the cauliflower into a frost-resistant container
Freezer bags or wooden containers are the best options for storing cauliflower. For added convenience, place a certain amount of cauliflower in each container that you will use at a time. For example, if you know you are going to make cauliflower soup, put 2 - 3 cups of cauliflower in one storage container so that the amount you will use later is correct.
- If you're using a freezer bag, try pressing it down so that most of the air can escape before sticking it together. This will help keep the cauliflower for a longer time. You can also use a straw to suck the air out, then press the bag tightly as you remove the straw.
- Food storage devices or vacuum bags can also be used to freeze large quantities of food.
Step 2. Freeze the cauliflower
Label your bag and place it in your freezer drawer. This cauliflower will last for several months.
Step 3. Reheat the cauliflower when you are ready to use it
Frozen cauliflower only needs to be heated for about 90 seconds after the soaking and freezing process. Put the frozen florets in boiling or steaming water. Once ready, this cauliflower can be used in your favorite recipes. Here's what you can try:
- Cauliflower soup
- Cauliflower gratin
- Cauliflower curry
- Use only the freshest vegetables for the best results. Cauliflower can be frozen while warm but if you don't like ice crystals, let your cauliflower cool first. Cauliflower will be crispier and tastier if it's dried before freezing, don't freeze it while it's wet.
- Cauliflower does not need to be thawed before use. Add directly to your cooking or reheat until hot enough using a little stock or water, or in the microwave.
- Chop the vegetables on a separate cutting board that you don't use to cut raw meat.
- Use cauliflower within 9 months for the best taste and nutrition.
- Be careful when cooking with steam. Wear protective gloves when lifting pot lids and lowering the steamer basket. Do not place your face directly facing the steaming pot.
- Do not soak cauliflower in the microwave.